The Impact of Diet on Tooth decay: Foods to Avoid and Include

Having a good cleaning regimen for your teeth is not the only factor in maintaining oral health and hygiene. Oftentimes, many people are unaware of the impact your diet can have on your teeth and its importance in achieving healthy teeth.

If you have a poor diet that is rich in sugar and starches, it feeds the plaque bacteria that accumulates in your mouth and as a result you develop a higher risk of suffering from tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay and cavities can lead to infections and even the loss of your teeth.

Read on to learn about some of the top foods to avoid and include in your diet to ensure that your pearly whites stay healthy and clean.

Avoid foods/drinks that are high in sugar.
While many of us can be tempted to grab a can of soft drink over water, soft drinks are extremely high in sugar. On average, a 12 oz can of Coke contains approximately 39 grams of sugar while the recommended sugar intake for an adult is 50 grams per day.

Every time you consume a sugary drink or snack, the sugar combines with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid that attacks your teeth, ultimately leading to tooth decay if over consumed.

Sparkling water is also acidic and can convert carbon dioxide into carbonic acid that can destroy your tooth enamel and cause your teeth to deteriorate and decay.

It’s best to stick to plain water and limit the amount of sugar you consume everyday.

Beware of starchy foods.
While carbohydrates are an important nutrient that provides energy, it is important to know that starchy carbs (like pasta, potatoes, white bread and rice) have a tendency to stick to your teeth and cause bacterial growth that lead to tooth decay.

This is because carbohydrates break down into simple sugars in your mouth which can linger in your mouth until you brush your teeth and the longer they linger, the more bacteria is produced which creates more harmful acids.

It is recommended to drink water when you consume any carbs and avoid overconsuming carbohydrates,

Consume more dairy foods
It is commonly known that drinking a glass of milk everyday can help to keep your bones strong and healthy as they are an excellent source of calcium. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that dairy foods can help prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy as they are also made up largely of calcium.

Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt contain important minerals such as calcium, casein and phosphorus that help to protect your tooth enamel by forming a coating of protein over your teeth which prevent tooth decay and also helps to repair your teeth after acid attacks.

Apples (or any crunchy fruit/veggie)
You’ve probably heard the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away and it holds true for dentists as well!

Crunchy fruits and vegetables (apples, carrots, celery etc.) have been proven to help keep your teeth and gums clean by acting as a natural scrub for your teeth that gets rid of dental plaque caused by sugars and carbohydrates by stimulating an alkaline saliva flow that neutralises acids.

Sugar-free gum
Lastly, research has proven that chewing sugar-free gum helps to increase saliva production which neutralises plaque acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay and also helps to strengthen your teeth, prevent bad breath and flushes out food particles after eating.

It is recommended to chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating a meal to get the best effects.

In a nutshell
While sugars and carbohydrates can lead to higher risks of tooth decay, you do not have to cut them out of your diet completely. Moderation is the key here and you should focus on incorporating more foods that prevent tooth decay into your diet and ensure that you do not over consume sugar and carbs.

Talk to Face Value Dental about tooth decay we are located in Brisbane's CBD, book an appointment with any of our clinicians, you can call us on (07) 2102 7703, or click here and fill in a form.

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