You are probably acutely aware of how your diet affects your general health, but it can also have a significant effect on your dental health. Dentists in Newcastle often see people who eat quite healthily but who have problems with tooth decay and it can be down to diet choices rather than oral hygiene.
Foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates are particularly bad for teeth because the sugars feed plaque bacteria in your mouth. As the bacteria thrive, they produce acids that gradually weaken your tooth enamel, a process called acid erosion. Repeated exposure to acid eventually causes tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity.
Problem foods include obvious items such as candies and cookies, but also things like chips and sticky foods like granola bars and dried fruit. Although granola might be good for you, many brands contain huge amounts of hidden sugars, and while dried fruit may also seem healthy, the sugars are concentrated so it’s always better to try and eat fresh fruit if you can.
Reading Food Labels Can Help
It’s y not realistic to avoid foods that contain sugars of any kind because just about all foods have some sort of natural sugars, including fruits and vegetables and which are necessary for a healthy and balanced diet. However, you can control the amount of sugary foods you consume, and it’s worth getting into the habit of reading food labels, so you can make healthier choices that are low in added sugars.
Limit Sugary Snacks in between Meals
Another thing you can do is to think about when you eat these foods. If you want to have something a bit more indulgent or sugary, then eat it as part of a main meal rather than as a snack. Consuming sugary foods at mealtimes helps to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acid. When you do want a snack in between meals then try to choose something that is lower in sugars, for example, natural sugar-free yogurts and cheese are great for teeth or opt for crunchy fruits and veggies.
Avoid Sugary Sodas and Diet Beverages
Sodas can contain huge amounts of sugar, so it may seem as if the diet versions are a sensible choice. While a diet drink may save your waistline, it probably won’t do too much for your teeth because often the sugars in drinks are replaced with acid which can soon erode your tooth enamel. If you do want to have a sugary or acidic beverage, try to drink it quite quickly and avoid sipping on it for too long because this will expose your teeth to sugar and acid for longer. Afterwards, swish your mouth around with them plain water to help remove excess sugars and acids and to help your mouth return to a more normal pH more quickly.
Wait Awhile before Brushing Your Teeth
After eating something sugary or acidic then wait at least half an hour before you brush your teeth. Waiting allows your mouth to become less acidic and for your tooth enamel to re-harden, reducing the damage caused by sugars and acid. If you brush too soon, your tooth enamel is softer and more easily damaged.
It’s better to catch the first signs of tooth decay in Clarington as soon as possible so that any small cavities can be quickly repaired. Warning signs include tooth sensitivity to hot and cold or sweet and sour foods, or even to very cold air.
Don’t forget, your regular dental checkups with our dentist in Courtice are the best way to detect any early signs of tooth decay. If it’s been a while since you saw a dentist, then please contact us here at West Bowmanville Family Dental so we can schedule your visit.