Today we are going to talk about my favorite topic: food. We all know there’s a relationship between the food we eat and the cavities we get. But it isn’t just sugar that causes cavities. It’s a little bit more complicated than that.
But first, let’s take a look at how a cavity forms.
Cavities involve both sugar and bacteria. There are actually certain bacteria that live in our mouths naturally. These bacteria use the sugar that we eat to form an acid. This acid is what dissolves or demineralizes our enamel and hence causes a cavity. On the other hand, when we are practicing good oral hygiene, eating healthy foods, avoiding sugars, brushing, flossing, this creates a healthy environment in our mouth and encourages re-mineralization of our enamel.
How do we encourage re-mineralization or a healthy environment in our mouths and avoid demineralization or the process that leads to cavities?
First, we all know that sugar is the main culprit of dental decay or demineralization. But did you know that sugars that cause this decay come from more than just candy? Simple carbohydrates, like candy, soda, cookies, cake, all break down into the sugars that we all know cause cavities and encourage demineralization.
But there’s a group of foods called refined carbohydrates like bread, , chips, crackers, they also can break down into the very sugars that can contribute to dental decay and demineralization. Furthermore, the consistency of the food you eat also plays a big role. For example, foods that are sticky tend to stick to our teeth for a period of time after we’ve eaten. The longer that sticks in our teeth the more it promotes this demineralization process.
Here are three tips and helpful hints that will help promote a healthy environment in our mouths and encourage re-mineralization.
Tip number one: between meals, avoid treats and snacks that are high in sugar or high in carbohydrate content as well as flavored or sugary drinks. If you must have a sugary treat and hopefully it’s a small one, at it as a treat or a reward with a meal. Same thing with a flavored drink. But between meals, healthy treats like apples, oranges, grapes, carrot sticks, and water should be encouraged.
Tip number two: avoid eating immediately after we brush. Our teeth need time to recover and re-mineralize. So let that toothpaste and toothbrush work and avoid eating for some time probably an hour or more after we brush. Furthermore, no eating before bedtime but if a late-night snack does come calling, you must brush before bedtime so that your teeth can re-mineralize while you sleep.
Tip number three: avoid foods and snacks that are sticky and tend to stick in the teeth and mouth for a period of time after you consume them.
Hope you found this beneficial and helpful.