Your dietary choices make a tremendous difference to your oral health and can negatively or positively affect your risk of dental problems like tooth decay.
We may suggest providing dietary advice if you have needed a few fillings recently or have early signs of tooth decay, despite caring for your teeth properly. Analyzing your diet allows us to identify foods that could be increasing your risk of dental problems.
Dental caries or tooth decay is a disease where acid produced by bacteria found in dental plaque weakens or dissolve tooth enamel or dentine. These bacteria thrive on sugars and carbohydrates found in foods like biscuits and other baked goods. Foods with added sugars are more likely to cause tooth decay and these foods often contain few useful nutrients. Typically, unsweetened foods such as grains,fruits and vegetables, and unsweetened dairy products are less likely to cause tooth decay.
When you eat foods containing high amounts of sugar or carbohydrates, some food particles remain on your teeth for quite some time afterward. As the bacteria use these foods for energy, they produce acid that weakens your tooth enamel, eventually dissolving it and allowing the bacteria to get inside the tooth where they gradually destroy the dentine underneath. Dentin is much softer and more easily eroded. Every time you eat, your mouth remains more acidic for at least half an hour afterward. If you frequently snack between meals and especially on high sugar or carbohydrate-rich foods, your mouth is acidic for longer, increasing your risk of tooth decay. Some foods are naturally acidic such as wine, sports drinks, herbal teas, and fruit juices, and should be enjoyed with caution.
A few simple changes can help to reduce this risk, for example, making sure you don’t snack on foods that could cause tooth decay in between meals. Instead, choose to have them as part of the main meal where the damage to your teeth is reduced. After eating something high in sugars or which is extremely acidic, wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth. Initially, your tooth enamel is softer and more easily eroded by brushing, but waiting a while allows it to re-harden so you can brush your teeth without fear of damaging your enamel.
Often, it is possible to improve your oral health by making a few simple changes to your diet or to the times when you eat certain foods.