It can be easy to overlook the importance of our teeth and their role in being well nourished and yet without our gnashers, we would not be able to enjoy crunching apples, biting bread or tearing at meat.
Our teeth and their health is set before we are born, when our mothers provide us with the nutrition to lay down the fundamentals for our future teeth.
When we grow we lose our baby teeth (apparently the going rate for the tooth fairy is now £1 per tooth!) and the adult teeth pop through. They have to last us the rest of our lives so it makes sense to look after them by brushing twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly.
And even when we are adults, the food we eat has an influence on the health of our teeth. When people make lifestyle changes they very sensibly opt for sugar free drinks, but it is not so well know that the phosphoric acid in some fizzy drinks can erode dental enamel. As a clinical dietitian we used cola- type fluids to unblock naso-gastric feeding tubes, such is the corrosive effect.
Other things which can affect our teeth is sugar of course, and the worst offenders are sweets which need to be sucked rather than chewed.
It is unreasonable to expect people to stop taking sugary foods and fizzy drinks completely and there are ways to counteract the acid effects after consumption of these things.
Chewing sugar free gum is known to lower the amount of acid in the mouth, as does eating a piece of cheese or drinking a glass of milk after a meal.
You may have guessed that I am off to the dentist today, for a crown to replace a huge mercury filling put in back in the old days before oral care was known about or promoted. I have a mouthful of fillings and I am so pleased that my 3 daughters, all aged over 30 (sorry girls) have just 1 filling between them. Hoorah for good dentistry and cheers to a much better awareness of good tooth care.