You try to eat healthily and look after yourself, so how come you are still getting cavities? Your diet could be to blame, and sometimes making even the simplest tweaks to your diet may make all the difference to your dental health in Whitby.
Why Do Teeth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when teeth are coated in sugar, providing an energy source for bacteria in plaque, and these bacteria form acid as a byproduct. The acid attacks tooth enamel, softening and gradually destroying it. After repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel breaks down, forming a cavity that extends into the tooth dentin. Dentin is a lot softer than tooth enamel and can decay more quickly, and by this stage you may notice your teeth feel more sensitive or hurt when you eat something hot or cold or sweet or sour. Unless a dentist mends a cavity in Oshawa, the decay can eventually reach the tooth nerve, by which stage you may have severe toothache and will most likely need root canal therapy to treat and hopefully save the tooth.
Which Foods Can Cause Tooth Decay?
With some foods, it’s pretty obvious that they can cause cavities, for example chocolate and candy. However, sugar is found in many forms, and even natural sugar can decay teeth. It’s worth reading food labels as many processed foods have added sugar. Usually, if an ingredient ends in ‘ose,’ for example fructose, glucose or sucrose, it contains sugar. The higher up the list of ingredients, the higher the sugar content. Also, foods that are labelled no added sugar aren’t necessarily sugar-free as they may still contain natural sugars.
Acidic foods and drinks can erode tooth enamel too. Good examples are pickles, vinegar, fruit juices and red wine, as well as many fruits such as strawberries and citrus fruits. Of course, it would be unreasonable to cut out these foods entirely, but it’s worth thinking about when you eat them and how frequently. Being smarter about when you consume some foods will help reduce your risk of tooth decay.
Making Smarter Food Choices
It’s better for your teeth if you don’t eat lots of snacks in between meals as every time you have something sugary or acidic, your mouth remains more acidic for up to an hour after. When you do want something sugary or acidic, have it as part of the main meal as your mouth produces more saliva, helping to wash away excess acids and sugars. If you want to snack on fruit between meals, follow it up with something alkaline such as cheese afterwards. Cheese is great for teeth because it contains plenty of calcium and is high in protein and helps to protect your dental health.
Keep fruit juice as an occasional treat and try to drink it only at mealtimes. Ideally, the best beverages are water and milk. Fizzy pop is particularly bad for teeth, and even the sugar-free versions tend to be very acidic, so these beverages are best avoided entirely.
Don’t Brush Your Teeth Straight After Eating
It is critical that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night and that you floss once-a-day. Otherwise, if you want to brush your teeth after eating, wait at least half an hour to an hour as initially your tooth enamel is softer and more easily damaged by your toothbrush. Waiting allows the tooth enamel to re-harden as the pH levels in your mouth neutralize.
Don’t forget to have regular checkups here at Margolian Dentistry. If you do have any signs of enamel erosion or cavities, we can treat them and offer useful advice on how to care for your mouth between dental visits.