Foods that Combat Tooth Decay and Ones to Stay Away From
Tooth decay has been drastically reduced in recent years. Yet, it’s still important to be mindful that dental plaque is the top culprit that is a leading cause of tooth decay. Dental plaque forms very quickly in your mouth and releases acid that penetrates tooth enamel. When not properly addressed in a timely fashion, dental plaque can form calculus, tartar and tooth decay. This is one reason why it is important to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, floss once a day and use mouthwash at bedtime. In addition, there are some foods that can support your goals to fend off dental plaque.
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables offer deep cleaning for your teeth and may remove debris caught between your teeth.
- Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products stimulate saliva flow and help strengthen weakened teeth.
- Tea, both green tea and black tea, help prevent unhealthy bacteria from growing and producing acid that is responsible for tooth decay.
- Licorice has been identified to limit the growth of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans which is a big contributor to dental plaque.
Stay Away Foods
- Candy, especially ones that remain in your mouth a long time, can adhere to your teeth because they are sugary and sticky. When candy remains on your teeth, sugar contents have time to churn out acid that is the cause for tooth decay. If you must have candy, try those that do not remain in the mouth long and brush your teeth afterwards.
- Breads and potato chips, including other complex carbohydrates, trigger bacteria to feed on the carbs. Too, complex carbohydrates are more likely than fruits and vegetables to get caught between your teeth, making those areas prone to cavities. Don’t forget to floss at least once a day to remove debris.
- Carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks contain tooth eroding phosphoric and citric acids that may lead to tooth decay. It’s best to use a straw when drinking these drinks and limit use as much as possible.
- Alcohol and certain medications dry out your mouth which inhibits saliva flow’s special deep cleaning action that would otherwise protect your teeth. If you must take this type of medication, ask your dentist about a prescription fluoride toothpaste, rinse or gel. You may also want to consider dry mouth sprays which are sold over-the-counter at your local pharmacy. Drink plenty of water as well.