The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can have a direct influence on the incidence and progression of tooth decay, depending a number of factors.
- Is it liquid, solid, sticky or slow to dissolve?
- Frequency at which you consume sugary foods and drinks.
- Frequency at which you consume acidic foods and drinks.
- Nutritional makeup of the food you eat.
- Medical conditions like acid reflux or eating disorders which can increase your risk for cavities or weaken teeth.
The natural forming bacteria in your mouth use carbohydrates (sugars and starches) for food. As they eat, they turn these in to acids. Bacteria, acid, food particles and your saliva combine to form plaque. Acids in plaque dissolve your tooth enamel to create cavities.
When you reduce your consumption of sugar and other simple carbohydrates you reduce your cavity risk.
Limiting sugar can be difficult because many food items don’t simply list ‘sugar’ as an ingredient. Always review nutrition labels and be on the look out for these common sugars:
- brown sugar
- cane sugar
- confectioners’ or powdered sugar
- turbinado sugar
- raw sugar
- corn sweeteners
- corn syrup
- crystallized cane sugar
- evaporated cane juice
- fruit juice concentrate
- high fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt syrup
- maple syrup