Preventing Tooth Decay from Acidic and Sugary Foods
It’s no secret that the things we put in our mouth have a direct impact on the health of our teeth and gums. The acidity or sugar levels of some foods and drinks may speed up tooth decay, so it’s important to know just what you are consuming and what it’s doing to your teeth.
The science is pretty simple—your mouth naturally has a neutral pH. When we consume acidic foods or drinks, it affects the pH level and speeds up tooth decay. Sugary foods create bacteria in your mouth that also lead to tooth decay.
There are a few tips—and a few foods and drinks to avoid—that can help prevent tooth decay caused by acidic or sweet foods.
Limit Acidic or Sugary Foods and Drinks to Prevent Tooth Decay
Soda is the first thing that comes to mind when people think about foods or drinks that damage their teeth—and they’re right. Not only is soda acidic, but it is also filled with sugars that will cause bacteria that break down the enamel on your teeth.
Alcoholic drinks as well as citrus fruits or juices are also acidic. Swap for a less acidic beverage, or use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. Keep an eye out for acidic especially if they are vinegar or tomato based.
If You Must, Consume Acidic Foods with Other Foods
Generally speaking, you can reduce the level of acid in your mouth by consuming acidic foods or drinks as part of a meal. The additional foods will neutralize or wash away the acid and can reduce damage to your teeth.
Some foods also have preventative qualities that make them ideal for eating with acidic or sweet foods. Crunchy foods like apples or carrots can help remove plaque from your teeth. Dairy foods and items high in calcium can also help protect your teeth.
If you must snack during the day, avoid foods with sugar, and this includes crackers and most breads, which actually have high levels of sugar. Check the labels, and choose healthy snacks to prevent tooth decay.
Brush your teeth regularly, floss every day, and use a fluoride mouth rinse after brushing to reduce plaque and to promote enamel. Good dental hygiene is the number one defense for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
See Your Dentist for Regular Check-Ups
Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are experiencing tooth decay and can offer additional guidance for prevention. Regular check-ups ensure that potential problems can be addressed sooner, preventing prolonged tooth decay that can cause cavities.
Many people feel that visiting the dentist on a regular basis for prevention is cost prohibitive, and may postpone a visit until they can no longer tolerate the pain. Most tooth problems do not get better on their own, and the sooner you address the problem the less pain you will have and the easier it will be on your pocketbook.
Also keep in mind that if the cavity or other problem is a result of consuming acidic foods or bacteria caused by sugary foods, your other teeth may be decaying if you don’t make a change.
Know What You Consume and How it Impacts Your Health
The main point to takeaway is that the old saying is true—we are what we eat. Take the time to read the labels on the products you consume on a regular basis and you will be surprised to learn just how much sugar is in the foods you eat every day.
Limit acidic foods and avoid eating acidic or sugary foods as snacks. Drinking lots of water will help wash away some of the acid and sugar, but not all. Be sure to take care of your teeth brushing and flossing everyday, and you will have an advantage over most when it comes to tooth decay.