Which foods and drinks cause tooth decay

Dear Doctor, Can you tell me which foods and drinks cause tooth decay so that I avoid them? What can I eat that will keep them in good shape?

Dear Doctor,

Can you tell me which foods and drinks cause tooth decay so that I avoid them? What can I eat that will keep them in good shape?

Monica

Dear Monica,

All foods can cause tooth decay if good dental hygiene is not maintained. Food particles which remain in between teeth, behind teeth, between teeth and gums or any crevice, cause fermentation of the food items and allow bacteria to grow. Bacteria digest the food producing acid which damages enamel. This also causes recurrent infection hence damaging the root of the teeth and leading to decay. But there are foods which pose greater risks. Food items with a high sugar content like cakes, candies, chocolates, etc. carry greater risk of causing dental caries and decay as they invoke more microbes after remaining in mouth due to the high sugar.

Food items with high acid content like certain fruits, sodas, etc. also can damage the enamel of the teeth. Then there are foods which tend to stick to the gums or teeth being sticky in nature and are not readily rinsed after the mouth is washed. This includes chocolates and candies, bread, cereals, fruits with fiber, etc.

But in no way can it be said that one should stop taking these foods altogether. They can be taken in moderation, but not in excess. After consuming them, teeth need to be cleaned regularly to avoid any kind of food substance sticking to the teeth or gums. That is why it is vital to rinse the mouth very well after eating anything. The teeth should be brushed from up to down(upper row) and down to up both (lower row) in front and behind. The brush used should not be very hard or old.

Like as for other parts of the body, good nutrition is also needed to keep gums and teeth healthy. Fruits like apple, orange, kiwi, strawberry are very good for health of teeth. Carrots are also very useful for teeth. Milk and milk products like cheese, curds, etc. are  rich in calcium and are important for keeping teeth healthy and strong. Lean beef, eggs and poultry are a rich source of phosphorus which keeps enamel healthy. Phosphorus also keeps the pH levels balanced in the mouth, thus discouraging growth of cavity forming bacteria. The food substances taken should be chewed very well as this promotes flow of saliva which in turn helps in keeping mouth clean, balances pH and prevent growth of microbes. Beverages containing sugar should be avoided. These include sweet sodas, sweetened tea, juices, etc Apart from the type of food, frequency of food consumed also determines health of teeth. Snacking frequently is not very good.

Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps in keeping the mouth well hydrated (which minimizes risk of growth of germs) and clean.

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