Your  Nutrition and Dental Disease

Carbohydrates are sugars.  The more we eat “carbs’ – crackers, cookies, cereal, pasta, candy, etc. – the more we are bathing our teeth in sugar, and the more likely we are to develop tooth decay.

Bacteria remain active in our mouth for 20 minutes after we finish eating or drinking.  The acidity of our saliva is also greater during and just after eating, which can lead to a brief softening of the enamel surfaces making them more susceptible to bacterial attack.  Eating does not mean sitting down and having an actual meal or snack.  Even chewing gum, sucking or chewing on breath mints, cough drops, throat lozenges, etc. will keep the decay-causing bacteria constantly active, thus increasing the likelihood of gum-line decay.

Avoid soda pop – even the “sugar-free” diet sodas.  Regular sodas contain 10 teaspoons of sugar per can!  The sugar-free sodas contain acids (which make the effervescence),  which break down tooth enamel. Cola type sodas are the most dangerous to drink.  Studies show that they break down tooth enamel the fastest.

Coffee, tea, red wine, colas, and some deep-colored foods will stain your teeth.  To maintain your tooth whiteness, limit your use of these beverages and foods.

Children especially should avoid soft, sticky, chewy foods and candies.  Treats like fruit roll-ups, gummy bears, Starburst, and even raisins are so sticky that they adhere to the deep grooves in teeth and cause decay very quickly.

Juices are especially high in sugar unless the label specifically states “100%” juice.  Otherwise, most “juices” are flavored sugar water.  However, even “pure”  juices in excess can cause decay.  Kool-Aid is another beverage that is extremely bad for teeth.   Sugar-free  Kool-Aid is acceptable, but water is better!

Do not allow small children to walk around with “Sippy Cups.”  Not only will the contents (unless it is water) constantly bathe the teeth in sugar, but also the sucking action on “Sippy Cups” can alter the anatomy of the mouth and cause orthodontic concerns.

It sounds like everything is bad for you, but it is not really.  The key to maintaining good oral health is to think about what you eat.  Anything in excess is bad, but a treat or something sweet, once in a while, is okay.  Just don’t over-do it!