If you practice good oral hygiene, you may think you’re in the clear for developing tooth decay and cavities, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Brushing and flossing are only a small part of cavity prevention. The foods and drinks you consume play a large role in the potential onset of tooth decay. As your North Dallas dentist, we want to see you have a beautiful smile for a lifetime, which is why we encourage you to avoid cavity-causing foods.
Cavity-Causing Foods and Drinks
The saying “you are what you eat” extends beyond just your overall health, but includes your oral health as well. The foods and drinks you consume play a large role in having healthy teeth and gums. There are certain foods and beverages that cause bacteria and plaque to stick to your teeth. When it accumulates, this opens the door to gum disease and tooth decay. While any foods and drinks have the potential to cause oral health complications, there are certain ones that have an increased risk for causing negative implications on your oral health.
Sugars—Sugary foods and drinks are the top causes of tooth decay because sugar sticks to the teeth. When you combine the sugar with other sticky substances, like those found in caramels and other hard candies, the sugars become even more difficult to remove. Sugar in high amounts is directly linked to causing tooth decay so you want to ensure you eat them in moderation. Afterward, be sure to brush and floss your teeth well.
Starches—Starches from white flours are known to stick to the teeth, eventually breaking down into sugars and causing bacteria to multiply. Starchy foods, like pasta, crackers, and bread, cause the bacteria in the mouth to feed on these sugars, increasing the prevalence of tooth decay.
Carbonated Drinks—In addition to the sugars found in carbonated drinks, the phosphorous and carbonation found in the drinks eat away at enamel. Not only does this lead to cavities, but also causes tooth discoloration. This isn’t limited to carbonated drinks, but also tea and coffee.
Fruit Juices—Fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar, which has damaging effects on the teeth. Plus, many are acidic as well, causing the damage to intensify as they acid eats away at enamel. If you’re consuming any drinks that have the potential to damage the teeth, use a straw to limit contact with the teeth.
Acidic Foods—Any acidic foods weaken enamel overtime, leading to decay and discoloration. Lemons, oranges, and even tomatoes have high acidic levels, increasing your risk for damage.
Fighting Cavities with Oral Hygiene
Just as there are foods that are known to cause cavities, there are also foods that are known to increase the health of teeth. In addition to good oral hygiene, eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber, dairy products, and drink water with fluoride.
With the right diet and oral care, you’ll help protect your smile from the inside out. Don’t forget to schedule routine checkups and cleanings with your North Dallas dentist to keep your smile looking its best.