If you are concerned that you have been developing more cavities than usual, it could be because of changes to your eating or drinking habits. Here are a few foods and drinks that could negatively impact your teeth and some alternatives to help you preserve your oral health.
Chewy candies, such as taffy and caramel, not only subject your teeth to high levels of sugar. They also form a sticky coating that attracts bacteria and holds them on the teeth. This is especially problematic, because oral bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, produce large amounts of bacterial acid that corrodes the enamel of the teeth.
As your tooth enamel is exposed to acid, the minerals in the enamel begin to dissolve. The weakened tooth enamel develops cavities due to the decay.
Instead of chewy candy, use sugarless gum to satisfy your craving to chew. The gum does not promote tooth decay, because it does not provide simple sugars for the bacteria to consume as food. In addition, gum encourages the production and flow of saliva, which helps wash away leftover particles of food and dilutes bacterial acid that may be present.
Some types of gum even contain sweeteners or flavorings that discourage the growth of bacteria. For instance, gum that is sweetened with xylitol displays antibacterial properties that help discourage bacteria from sticking to the teeth and can even reduce oral bacterial counts. In addition, gum that is flavored with cinnamon is also antimicrobial.
Many people enjoy the fizz of a carbonated drink. However, sodas are acidic and can damage tooth enamel in the same way that bacterial acid can. Thus, even sugar-free sodas are harmful to the teeth.
Instead of a soda, choose to sip on a bottle of water or a glass of tea. Water contains no sugar and has a neutral pH that does not harm the teeth. As you drink, bacteria and food particles are rinsed from the teeth, and acid is diluted. In addition, if fluoridated water is selected, the teeth are made more acid-resistant.
Fluoride attracts displaced minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous, back to the surface of your tooth enamel. There, it bonds with the minerals to form a new tooth material that better resists acid.
Tea can also be used as a replacement for soda. The polyphenols in the tea make it antibacterial.
To learn more ways to protect your teeth from decay, schedule an appointment with a dentist like one from Persona Dental in your area.