What Foods Cause Cavities
Today’s post is about what foods cause cavities.
Tooth decay occurs when the enamel or/and the dentin of the tooth are damaged. People normally are unaware when their enamel is damaged. Toothaches happen only when the dentin becomes exposed. Which is bad news, because it means our protector the enamel has lost the battle and the dentin (which protects the nerves) now has to fend for itself.
We must remember our enamel is non regenerating, and hence making sure that it lasts is the first step to preventing tooth decay, and the dreaded toothache.
Today we talk about 4 main types of food that we want to be mindful of in order to avoid tooth decay.
Simple carbohydrates like white rice, potatoes, bread etc, starts breaking down into simple sugars by the amylase in our saliva the moment they enter our mouths. The sugar, mixed with saliva and the remnants of food particles and the naturally occurring bacteria in our oral cavity forms plaque, which sticks to the surface of our teeth (the enamel). So as the bacteria feasts on the plaque, they also create acid as a by product.
Now, this is the scary part that we want to be careful of. The acid, if left uncleaned, will start to attack the minerals within the enamel structure, thinning and weakening it. So here we go, another reason to start eating complex carbs because they take a longer time to break down to simple sugars.
2. Sugary snacks
Same principles as above. The only difference is that sweets are already simple sugars so there is no lag time in which it gets to attack the tooth enamel. It has been estimated that if left uncleaned, the enamel will start to erode within 20 mins of sweets ingestion!
Now, that’s some food for thought eh?
3. Acidic Beverages
So going down the list of horrors, remember that the acid is actually the real culprit of tooth structure deterioration? When we consume acidic drinks like the sodas or citrus juices (we are looking at you, lemon and orange!), the acid in the beverages can attack the tooth structure directly, hastening the process of tooth destruction.
Don’t think we are safe if we just stick our teas and coffee. They are equally acidic in nature. Can’t give our earl greys and starbucks up? Well, one way to neutralize the acid is to add some milk. So we do can have our beer/fizzy drinks and drink it too!
4. Sticky snacks
Hands up to those who love their caramel fudges?
Well, us too. Yet we also need to know that these sticky fudge somehow or rather finds their way between the gaps of our teeth and stays there, sometimes despite our best efforts to brush our teeth. They are the take out equivalents of buffet.
Bacteria dig them to death, and these are the insidious ones that erode our teeth without our knowledge. Some people use interdental brushes to get to those hard to reach places. You may want to consider these interdental brushes.
Now, what we are saying is not to totally give up those delectable sweets and beverages, because that would be totally inhumane to say the very least. Although kudos to the few who does so with seeming ease. So for the rest of us humans, having our cake and eating it, can be possible, just remember to brush, floss and gargle after it.