At Dental Health Care Associates, we believe in prevention and early diagnosis of tooth decay.
In addition to regular dental visits, brushing and flossing, what you eat and how often you eat can affect your teeth.
When sugar is consumed over and over again in large amounts, the harmful effect on teeth can be dramatic. However, snacking throughout the day can also lead to tooth decay.
When you do not remove plaque from your teeth on a daily basis, it builds up creates problems. Plaque bacteria use the sugar that we eat and drink to produce acids that attack the outer surface of the tooth (enamel). This acid attack lasts for up to 20 minutes every time you eat or drink anything with sugar. When you are sipping or snacking on sugary foods and drinks all day, the acid will continue to attack your tooth enamel over and over. This repeated attack of acids on the teeth will cause tooth decay (cavity).
Almost all foods have some type of sugar. You cannot and should not eliminate all sugar from your diet. Many foods and drinks, like apples, carrots and milk, are naturally sweet but also have vitamins and minerals that are necessary for a healthy diet. One way to make smarter choices is to read the labels of food and choose foods that are lower in added sugar and choose sugar-free drinks.
To reduce your risk of decay
- If you consume sugary foods or drinks, we recommend having them with a meal. The saliva that is produced during meals helps neutralize the acids and wash food particles away. Also, this will reduce the length of time that you are exposing teeth to acid attacks.
- Limit sugary drinks and snacks throughout the day. If you do snack, choose foods that are low in sugar and fat. Also, eat the snack in one sitting; don’t “graze” throughout the day. Again this will reduce the length of time you are exposing your teeth to acid.
- Chew sugarless gum that has the ADA seal. Chewing gum for 20 minutes following a meal can reduce tooth decay by increasing the flow of saliva to neutralize acid and wash food particles away.
- Drinking fluoridated water will help prevent tooth decay. Also, drinking water instead of sugary liquids will reduce the amount of acid your teeth are exposed to.
- Brush your teeth two times a day with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing twice a day and flossing will reduce the amount of plaque that is sitting on your teeth. This will reduce the amount of cavity-causing bacteria that are in your mouth.
- Visit the dentist routinely. Visiting the dentist routinely will allow early diagnosis of tooth decay, along with a therapeutic fluoride treatment. Fluoride can help prevent decay along with a proper diet, routine dental visits, and proper brushing and flossing.