Your Diet Has a Direct Effect on Your Teeth
Find Out What’s Good, What’s Bad, and What’s Going On Inside Your Mouth
A balanced diet is essential for maintaining the health of your entire body, including your teeth. We all know that in order to prevent tooth decay, it’s wise to avoid foods that are high in sugar like candy, soda, and sweet fruit juices. However, most people are surprised to learn that there are other foods that can do just as much damage to your teeth – potato chips, raisins and bananas are just a few. Additionally, it’s important to be conscious of when and how much you eat.
So what exactly do those sugary foods do inside your mouth that’s so terrible? For starters, the bacteria in your mouth (yes, you have bacteria in your mouth, but don’t worry – a little bit is OK) break down sugary foods, also called fermentable carbohydrates, and produce strong acids. These acids cause your teeth to undergo what is called demineralization, a process by which the enamel on your teeth begins to dissolve. The bad news is that damaging acids continue to cause demineralization for 20 minutes. The good news is that your own saliva acts to neutralize these acids and even re-mineralizes your teeth.
Practically speaking, this means that sipping on a soda over the course of a few hours is worse than just drinking one with your lunch because, as you continuously drink soda, the bacteria continuously produce acid causing demineralization. If you drink the soda all at once, demineralization is over in about 20 minutes, because there is nothing for the bacteria to feed on. So the best thing to do is to avoid snacking throughout the day so that you are not constantly damaging your teeth with acid. Another good policy is to avoid foods that are sticky or get stuck easily in your teeth. If food remains stuck in your mouth it constantly supplies fermentable carbohydrates for bacteria.
Overall, the point of this newsletter, as with any diet recommendation, is not to avoid certain foods altogether, but rather to eat a balanced diet that includes foods from all the major food groups. I’m glad you got a chance to read this particular newsletter because now you have the information you need to be conscious of what you’re eating and know how it is affecting your teeth. If you think you could use a diet consultation, a cleaning, or just a dental evaluation don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment by clicking here.
Next week we’ll look at foods that affect your teeth in a positive way. You’ll learn what foods you can eat to improve the strength and overall health of your teeth…and you may be surprised by a few of them,wasabi for instance!
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