Current diet trend of blended food and drinks could be causing more damage to student’s teeth than they realise, according to the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT).
Students are being urged to be aware of the damage juiced and blended foods, which are often very high in sugars and acids, can have on teeth and also to ensure they have a balanced and nutritious diet to ensure good dental health.
A record number of students are returning to or starting university this year, and will most likely have a lot of things on their minds. As any student, past or present, will know there are lots of things to worry about. Issues regarding finances, living arrangements and assignment deadlines often mean that a heathy diet is not always a priority.
Michaela ONeill, president of the BSDHT, explained why students need to pay attention to their diets this coming term:
“Student diets have been a point of ridicule for decades and while the old stereotypes of students surviving on toast and noodles in pots may be long gone new food trends are having a potentially damaging effect on their teeth, one which they may not be particularly aware of.
Over the past few years the blended food trend has caught the imagination of students nationwide, due to its ability to provide ‘healthy’ foods quickly and on the go.
Blenders often take pride of place in student kitchens where once the humble toasted sandwich maker stood. They haveWith the ability to blend pretty much anything into a handy, take with you, smoothie. These products have altered the way which students are not only having their breakfasts and lunches but also how they are organising their whole diets.
“But there are potentially two huge dangers coming from sugar and acid in these blended foods and therefore students may face an increased chance of dental decay and dental erosion occurring.”
When natural sugars are broken down through blending it releases much more sugar than eating the food in its natural state. By breaking them down, the sugars are also more widely dispersed and come into contact with more tooth surface area than whole foods. These sugars react with dental plaque creating a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead totooth decay.
Acids in food lead to dental erosion, which is the loss of tooth enamel. Every time you eat or drink anything acidic the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while and if this happens too often tiny bits of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth and the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.
“While blended food is convenient for students the old adage of a healthy body equalling a healthy mind is never more important than during university studies. When students take the time out to eat properly they can slow down, take a minute and approach whatever is in front of them in a calm way. They also don’t have to deal with the distraction, and potential expense, of painful and unhealthy teeth.” added Ms ONeill.
“The BSDHT want to raise awareness of all aspects of their diet and enable students to make their own decisions to put into place the necessary measures to avoid any major dental health problems.“
The BSDHT advises eating fruit and vegetables in their natural state as preferable for oral and general health but if using a blender, follow the following advice. Don’t brush your teeth straight away, leave at least half an hour and if possible chew sugar free gum or rinse with water to restore the natural acidity of the mouth.
A visit to your dental team will help to educate you on the best way to look after your mouths and regular visits will ensure that you stay on top of any potential problems.
The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.
BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.
Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.
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