Nutrition a major gap in Aussie’s oral health 

nutrition and oral health
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Australians are being urged to focus on their diet when it comes to oral health amidst research from health insurance company Bupa suggesting nutrition is rated last as a driver of quality of life, with four out of 10 Australians reporting their lifestyles don’t include good nutrition levels. 

The Bupa Pulse Check, which looks at Australians’ attitudes toward their health and wellbeing, found almost 80 per cent of people are consuming an unstructured diet which can lead to increased snacking or dining on fast food. This is of concern to local dentists given the association between a positive diet and positive oral health and studies that suggest 31 per cent of adults have untreated tooth decay. 

“It might sound very simple but drinking more water and swapping out soft drinks or energy drinks can have a major positive impact on your oral health,” Bupa head dentist Dr Cathryn Madden said. 

“It prevents dry mouth, washes food particles away, protects against staining and the fluoride in tap water keeps your teeth strong. 

“While everyone enjoys an occasional snack, excess intake of added sugars leads not only to tooth decay but is also associated with other health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This is why it’s always best to plan your daily food intake and eat healthy, balanced meals which can help avoid the temptation to snack or consume sugar-rich fast food instead.” 

With many Aussies looking for quick fixes to supplement their diet, the Bupa research revealed 57 per cent of people are taking vitamins or supplements regularly. 

“Taking additional vitamins and supplements can be beneficial for many people, however from an oral health perspective there is no substitute for eating fruits and vegetables which are high in fibre, which increase saliva flow, neutralise acids and help to clean the teeth,” Dr Madden said.

“If you’ve noticed changes in your mouth, it’s always a good idea to talk about your diet with your dentist; they will be in the best position to advise on any small issues before they become big ones and will also provide information relating to which parts of your diet could be the culprit. In most cases, people are just a small lifestyle adjustment away from a healthy smile.”

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