In a perfect world, there would be no cavities – but unfortunately that would mean there would have to be no sugar, and let’s be honest, that’s never going to happen.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet isn’t just important to your overall health, it’s important to your oral health as well. Frequent or prolonged intake of sugary foods enables bacteria to maintain an acidic environment on the surface of your teeth. Soft and sticky foods cling to the biting surfaces of the teeth and stay there until it’s brushed off. Saliva will spread the sugar between the teeth, and to the front and back.
So how do cavities occur, and that ugly dental decay?
Every time you eat, plaque and bacteria in your mouth mix with the sugar and starch from the food you ingest, creating an acidic environment in your mouth. This acid softens the enamel of your teeth, and without proper oral hygiene, can expose your teeth to troublesome cavities.
How to reduce the risk of decay:
- Brush daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Follow your country’s food guide necessary for a healthy diet.
- When eating starchy foods such as bread, cereal and pasta, minimise the time teeth are exposed by eating them with meals rather than snacking on them throughout the day.
- Substitute sugary snacks with sugar-free gum and mints. Xylitol found in some chewing gums has been found to reduce risk of cavities. This can help reduce cavities and increase saliva flow.
- Drink high-sugar beverages through a straw, then rinse mouth with water and brush within 30 minutes. But be careful, brushing to quickly following a meal can damage your teeth’s enamel.
- Rinsing with water after eating can help cleanse the teeth before brushing.
*Courtesy: Brushing Up on Mouth Care Programme