We all know that cookies and cakes are full of sugar, but did you know there is a “best” time to eat them? Many people don’t realize that the effects generated by the food they eat can continue on long after the time it is originally consumed. Eating a sweet treat with dinner will do less harm to the teeth than when it is eaten as a separate snack. Preventing cavities is easier to do when you understand how food affects your oral health.
The Instant Effect Of Food On Your Teeth
As soon as you eat certain foods, chemical actions begin. The bacteria in your mouth forms acids, which is the beginning of the cavity-creating process. Foods in the carbohydrate family are broken down into the simple sugars glucose, fructose, maltose, and lactose. Some carbohydrates are fermentable and break down in the mouth. Included in the fermentable carbohydrates are sugary foods, such as candy, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, syrups, bread, crackers, cereal, and fruits, and they work directly with bacteria to form the acids that start the decaying process that leads to cavities. Most of the acid is produced when food is in contact with the bacteria on a person’s teeth for a longer period of time. This means that healthy foods, such as prunes, raisins, and figs can cause more acid damage due to their stickiness.
Acids Cause Demineralization
Some of the acids formed by the bacteria and sugar work to dissolve the needed minerals inside of the tooth enamel. Once these acids are formed, they do their dirty work for half an hour, unless removed by brushing. Teeth can regain lost minerals through the use of mineral water, fresh vegetable, and the fluoride in dental products and water supplies. The saliva that is generated during chewing also contributes to the restoration of minerals. The two processes are referred to as Demineralization and Remineralization. When minerals are lost faster than they are replaced, tooth decay begins in the enamel. Foods that get trapped in the teeth can also cause tooth decay. The teeth are full of little hiding places for scraps of food, and they continue to do damage until they are removed. Molars are particularly susceptible to cavities because they have many little spaces where food can be trapped.
Foods That Encourage Dental Health
The entire body depends on good nutrition to maintain health. Poor nutrition seriously affects the health of your mouth and teeth. Gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath can all be attributed to an improper diet. Including healthy nutritional choices in your diet is important for your teeth. The following foods are good for your dental health:
. Whole grains, including whole wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa
. Dark green and orange vegetables
. Fresh firm fruits
. Lean meat and fish
Use These Foods Sparingly
No person wants a diet completely free of desserts, an occasional candy bar, and a cold soft drink once in awhile. It’s important to eat such foods sparingly. Limit between-meal snacks to lessen the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acids. The following foods should only be eaten occasionally:
. Cakes and cookies
. Sweetened beverages, such as soda, juices, lemonade, and iced tea
. Dried fruits and fruit leather
. Potato chips, pretzels, crackers, and similar snacks
A nutritionally balanced diet is critical to maintaining good dental health. By adding a healthy diet to brushing, flossing, regular cleanings, and dental checkups, you significantly reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease