What you eat and how often you eat it, is just as important for your teeth and gums as it is for your body. Food and drinks that contain starch and sugar react to the bacteria in your mouth and produce acid. This attacks your tooth enamel which begins causing decay. Decay may start in between your teeth, or it may be seen as a brown mark on your tooth.
The more frequently you consume products with starch and sugar, the longer your teeth are exposed to decay causing acid. Plaque is the sticky film on the surface of your teeth which attracts food particles, the longer this remains on your teeth the more acid is produced and damage done.
Foods such as those listed below make excellent substitutes for sweet treats:
- Cheese and yoghurt
- Fresh fruit
- Vegetable sticks including carrot and celery
Sugary foods should only be consumed during or directly after a meal as this will ensure the amount of acid attacks on your teeth is minimal. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt, bread, cereals, chicken and fish. If you do snack between meals, then rinse your mouth with water. Also, sugar free chewing gum is beneficial to increase your saliva flow and help to neutralise the acid from the bacteria and protect your teeth.
Did you know:
Chewing gum removes the acid produced by plaque within minutes, slowing down the process of tooth decay. One reason for this is that chewing can stimulate saliva production, thus flushing out the bacteria and neutralising plaque acids. Saliva also contains minerals (such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride) that helps repair early decay and also strengthen tooth enamel.
Many beverages contain a lot more sugar than you may realise contributing to dental decay; some drinks can also be very acidic causing erosion damage to your teeth. Soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and some alcoholic beverages are all major offenders. When you are thirsty, water is a much healthier option. The table below shows the average amounts of sugar present in food and drinks.
Our hygienists can offer advice on the best dietary choices for you and your children. Call (08) 8212 6335 today to book an appointment at our Adelaide CBD clinic.