Have you thought recently about the impact that food and drink can have on your health – and particularly the health of your mouth?

We asked Diane Milmore, a dental nurse tutor and a consultant for Slimming World, to share her knowledge about the benefits of eating a healthy, nutritious diet.

“Hi there. My name’s Diane and I would like to talk to you briefly about diet, your health and your teeth.

Two thirds of us are overweight now. With all the potential health risks that obesity brings, it’s never been more important to think about dieting and exercise. I know first-hand how hard it can be, but it is so worth it.

We all know what we should be doing to look after ourselves. It is all about making the right choices; swapping unhealthy foods for ones with less sugar and less fat (which we call ‘food optimising’ at Slimming World), and getting some exercise going (which we call ‘body magic’).

I’d recommend that you have a look at the NHS Eat Well Guide: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx – it’s a really handy, clear website which shows us what we ought to be eating every day.

The basics are: eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, try to base a meal around some starchy foods like rice and pasta, get some protein and fibre in there, and don’t forget your dairy products – they’re full of calcium, protein and vitamins.

Just be careful though, because your teeth do not cope well with an acidic diet. Some diet drinks are full of acid, and some fruits are much more acidic than others, especially if you turn them into smoothies.

Keep to three good meals a day and drink plenty of fluids, but choose snacks with caution – watch out for hidden sugars and that acid! And, ideally, just stick to drinking water or milk an hour before bed.

Planning and support are cornerstones of a successful weight loss programme, so plan your meals for the week, only buy what you need to make them (it makes shopping quicker and cheaper if you are working from a list!) and try not to do it on your own – enlist family and friends, or join a group. It makes life so much easier.

Wishing you all success.

For more information about Slimming World, and to find a group near you, visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk