Sweets and sugary foods have a lot to do with tooth decay, but whether or not you develop cavities or gum disease depends on several factors. The foods you eat are one part of the recipe, but how often you eat is also key, along with whether you’re genetically predisposed to develop tooth or gum problems, how much saliva your body produces naturally, and whether or not you keep up with regular dental checkups.
The bacteria that is already present in your mouth interacts with the components of the foods you eat, creating acids that can be damaging to tooth enamel. Over time, constant exposure to these acids without proper cleanings can result in cavities and other oral health problems.
So what can you do about your diet to help combat or at least minimize the amount of acid created in your mouth? Here are some tips:
- Slow down on snacks: Snacking may be better for your metabolism, but it doesn’t do your teeth any favors. Between-meal snacking exposes your teeth to more acid over a longer period of time.
- Choose gum: While it can feel almost like a meal substitute (or at least something that curbs your hunger a little), sucking on hard candy, mints, or lollipops can increase the acid production in your mouth. If you’ve gotta have a sweet, go for the sugar-free varieties. Better yet, choose sugar-free gum with xylitol.
- Bag the brush: When it’s possible, brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating in order to remove plaque-containing bacteria. Always brush at least twice daily and floss at least once a day to remove plaque from tooth surfaces and where the tooth meets the gums.
- Improve your diet: What you eat doesn’t only affect how your body functions, it also affects your oral health. Making sure you’re eating a balanced, moderate, healthy diet means you’re getting an adequate supply of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients to help maintain healthy teeth and gums.
- Can the high-sugar drinks: Beverages like soda, energy drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks contain a massive amount of sugar. If they’re sipped over a lengthy period of time or often throughout the day, your teeth are experiencing a near-constant acid bath.
At our Philadelphia dental office, we provide preventive care as well as cosmetic dentistry treatment. Schedule your first visit with Dr. Ken Cirka to determine what your oral health needs may be and what treatment is recommended for them.