Knox Terrace Dental
General & Implant Dentistry

Dental Health & Nutrition

Preventive Dentistry

A good preventive care routine is crucially important for the overall health of your teeth and gums so our first priority is the preventive care of your teeth. It is important to see your dentist regularly for check ups, x-rays and cleaning so any problems that arise can be diagnosed and treated early thus limiting the need for more extensive, costly treatments later on.
Routine professional cleaning every 6 to 12 months, in conjunction with a full check-up, will help to maintain oral health and reduce the chance of dental emergencies. With personalised oral hygiene instruction and cleaning supplements Knox Terrace Dental can assist you in keeping your mouth fresh and clean between visits. We recommend flossing your teeth daily and using an electric tooth brush.
For good dental health, you need to look after your teeth. Dental diseases such as tooth decay and dental erosion are very common health problems in Australia, but they are largely preventable!

The single most important factor in helping to fight tooth decay (also called dental caries) has been the addition of fluoride to the water supply. But there is much more to good dental health than fluoride, tooth brushing and filling cavities (holes). Good nutrition and eating habits also play a key role in preventing tooth decay and dental erosion.

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay results in holes in the tooth enamel (the protective surface of your teeth). Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. The bacteria in plaque use sugars in food and drinks to produce acid. This acid dissolves the tooth’s strengthening minerals (calcium and phosphate) from the tooth surface.

Saliva is the body’s natural defence against dental caries. It helps wash sugars from the mouth and reduces the effect of the acid produced by the plaque bacteria. The calcium and phosphate present in saliva also help to replace the minerals on the surface of your teeth.

But if ‘acid attacks’ occur too often, your saliva won’t have enough time to repair the damage done, and a hole will eventually develop in the tooth.

What is Dental Erosion?

Dental erosion is the gradual wearing away of the hard surfaces of teeth from exposure to acids. This can result in increased sensitivity to temperature. Dental erosion may be caused by acidic drinks such as soft drinks , fruit juices and sports drinks. Gastric reflux is another cause of dental erosion.

Diet and Tooth Decay

Our eating and drinking habits play an important role in the development and prevention of dental disease. With sugary food and drinks, it’s how much we consume, as well as how often, that affects the development of tooth decay. The physical form of the sugar is also important. Solid foods are cleared from the mouth more slowly than liquid, giving the plaque more time to produce acid. Sticky sweet foods are particularly bad as they tend to stay in close contact with teeth much longer.


For dental health, it’s recommended that people limit eating and drinking between meals. Of course, sometimes eating between meals must happen. Unfortunately, most people choose foods like sweets and chips for snacks; foods that harm teeth by promoting tooth decay. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice—such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts—for your overall health and the health of your teeth.

Foods That May Harm Dental Health

Empty calorie foods such as lollies (especially hard or sticky lollies like lollipops, mints, and caramels), sweets like cookies and cakes, and snack foods like chips are a cause for dental concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the amount and type of sugar that they contain that can adhere to teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acids, and that’s what leads to tooth decay.

Sugar-containing drinks—soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice and sweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot)—are particularly harmful because sipping them causes a constant sugar bath over teeth, which promotes tooth decay.

Nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can have acidic effects on tooth enamel, too, so eat them as part of a meal or rinse with water after eating. Dried fruits, including raisins, are also good choices for a healthy diet, but since they are sticky and adhere to teeth, the plaque acids that they produce continue to harm teeth long after you stop eating them.

Foods That Benefit Dental Health

Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors. A balanced and healthy diet should include the following:

Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds, are foods that have high amounts of calcium and other nutrients. Research has shown that milk and cheese can help prevent tooth decay. Dairy foods contain special anti-decay nutrients such as casein, calcium and phosphorus. Casein is a protein which when combined with calcium and phosphorus, creates a protective protein film over the enamel surface of the tooth, reducing the risk of tooth decay. The tooth strengthening minerals, calcium and phosphorus also help repair teeth after acid attacks and protect against dental decay and erosion.

Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are the best sources of calcium and phosphorus. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Vary your protein choices to also include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.

Fruits and vegetables are good choices for a healthy smile since they are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay. Plus, many contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds) and vitamin A (another key nutrient in building tooth enamel). Vegetables and fruit should equal half your plate at mealtime.

Grains. At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.

Hands down, water—particularly fluoridated water—is the most tooth-friendly beverage.

Sugar Substitutes

Sugar substitutes may look and taste like sugar but they don’t promote decay-causing acids in your mouth that can harm teeth. There are many types of sugar substitutes, including aspartame, erythritol, saccharin, sucralose, isomalt, sorbitol, acesulfame potassium and mannitol.

Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Cavities:

  • Brush and floss after meals with a fluoride toothpaste to remove sugars and food particles from your teeth.
  • Limit between-meal snacking.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating a sugary or acidic food or drink;
  • Eat some cheese or nuts after sugary foods or drinks – this helps neutralise the acid produced by the plaque bacteria;
  • Chew sugarless gum after meals to promote saliva production;
  • Go easy on very sweet and sticky foods;
  • Avoid frequent sipping of sugary, acidic drinks (e.g. soft drinks, cordials, juice and sports drinks). Where possible, drink them through a straw to lessen contact with teeth;

Young children should not be given sweetened beverages by bottle – this can increase the likelihood of tooth decay. If required, water should be given in the bottle between regular infant formula feeds;

Remember—Include dairy, plenty of fruits and vegetables, protein and water in your diet—they all play a vital role in your dental health.

In addition to diet, it’s also important to stay active for good health. Adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.