What is the best way of preventing cavities? In your quest to maintain a healthy smile, you may have already taken a look at your daily hygiene practices, and even increased your visits to the dentist for preventive care. However, if you have not taken a long, hard look at your diet, there are compelling reasons to do so. What you eat and drink on a daily basis can have a major impact on your dental health. If you want to keep your smile in great shape, make sure your dietary choices are helping in that effort, not sabotaging your oral health!
Cutting Back on Sugar Helps to Prevent cavities
As a child, avoiding sugar was probably one of the most consistent warnings you remember. Tooth decay (or tooth rot, as parents often called it) would be sure to follow if you ate too much candy or drank too much soda. The truth is that sugar does play a vital role in the development of tooth decay and cavities. However, it isn’t the only cause, or even the main one, and protecting your teeth requires more than just taming your sweet tooth.
Limiting foods high in sugar is important, as it can help in cavity prevention by limiting the food source for plaque bacteria. Avoiding obvious sweets, like brownies, cakes, cookies and candy, is a good start. Unfortunately, many packaged foods are surprisingly high in sugar. You need to be careful about what you buy, and eat – and drink – on a daily basis. Get in the habit of reading the labels on the things you buy, and avoid those that list sugar in any form as a leading ingredient. Honey and maple syrup might seem like healthier forms of sugar, for instance, but they still create acidity in the mouth, which can be damaging to teeth. So avoid items that rely on these heavily.
In general, most people should strive to eat diets that consist primarily of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products, healthy fats (like nuts or avocado), and some grains, all of which supply great nutritional benefits.
Remember to avoid sugary drinks
Of course, what you eat isn’t the only common source of sugar in the standard American diet. Many drinks are also high in sugar. From sodas and sweetened teas, to many juices and smoothies, you should avoid drinking items that are high in sugar. Particularly drinking throughout the day, when the teeth’s exposure to the sugar becomes extended and therefore more dangerous. Sports and energy drinks also often contain high amounts of sugar.
How Bacteria Destroy Enamel
The reason sugar is a threat to your teeth isn’t because it attacks them directly. On the contrary, sugar’s threat comes from the fact that it feeds harmful oral bacteria that contribute to plaque formation. These bacteria metabolize sugar and other carbs and convert them into acids. The acids attack the mineralized enamel surrounding your teeth. Besides sugar, these carbs can also include things like bread and other foods that you may otherwise consider healthy.
What you eat and how often you eat determines cavity rate
Many people know that cavities are often caused by diets high in sugar, and starchy foods. Yet they may not realize that both what you eat and how often you eat can affect your oral health, either positively or negatively. Since everything that passes your lips except water has some type of sugar in it. One single green pea or that slice of apple, or a teaspoon of milk that you put in your coffee will feed every plaque cell in your mouth. All so called healthy snacks are bad for your teeth.
Eating frequently causes cavities
Another simple way to protect your smile is by limiting the frequency during the day that you eat sugar. Since the bacteria in the mouth feed upon sugar, the more of it you consume on a regular basis, the more likely you are to struggle with dental cavities. The American Dental Association has had a long term battle with the American Dietetics Association over the public service announcements frequently aired on the radio. Some dietitians believe that frequent small carbohydrate rich meals are the best for your weight and health. This is the perfect storm for cavities. it provides a constant and steady food source for oral bacteria. It will ensure tooth destruction!
How to Prevent Cavities with better hygiene
In addition to avoiding sugar, preventing cavities from developing mainly requires preventing the excessive buildup of harmful oral bacteria on your teeth. That means brushing your teeth at least twice every day and flossing at least once, as well as attending a checkup and cleaning appointment at least once every six months. If a cavity does develop, then you should speak with your dentist about treating it as soon as possible to avoid the potential for severe internal tooth infection.
Drink Plenty of Water
The healthiest choice for your smile, and your body, is water. It actually helps to prevent dental problems. That said, unsweetened milks can also be good, since they are often high in calcium, which helps maintain strong teeth. Some unsweetened tea can also be a good choice, since many contain antioxidants that are good for the body. Just be careful not to drink ones that stain if you are concerned about keeping your smile bright and beautiful, as well as healthy!
Why Consistency Matters
There are over 600 identifiable kinds of bacteria in a healthy human mouth. All of them are vital to maintaining your mouth’s healthy ecosystem. Some, however, are harmful to your teeth and gum tissues when they’re allowed to multiply. Dental plaque is a byproduct of these bacteria accumulating and it forms constantly, which is why your hygiene routine has to be just as consistent at removing it from your teeth and gums.
Why Dental Care Is Essential
Consistency is also important because to err is human. Even with your best efforts, you’re bound to miss a spot of plaque here and there. What you miss will eventually calcify into tartar. Calcified plaque can’t be removed with toothpaste and water; the insoluble film can only be removed with professional cleaning equipment at your dentist’s office. To protect your smile from tartar-protected bacteria that lead to cavities, be sure to attend a dental preventative care visit least once every six months, without fail.
Learn More About Preventing cavities
Genetics, frequency of eating and sugar consumption all plays an important role in cavity development, but it isn’t the only cause or the only thing you need to protect your teeth from. To learn more about preventing cavities, schedule a consultation by calling us at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist. He serves clients from throughout the United States