Food and drinks can wreak havoc on your teeth. Sugar-filled snacks and beverages can cause cavities, increase plaque, and cause a host of other oral issues that could result in costly dental work. Choosing the correct beverages and snacks can not only promote oral health, but it can also ensure that the only dental visits required will be those for routine cleaning and x-rays. This is not about how to avoid dental care. This will guide patients on how to promote continued oral health through appropriate daily habits. By eating and drinking things that promote oral health, the overall physical health of a patient may also improve.
What is it that actually causes damage?
Simply put, the sugar in foods and beverages is what causes serious tooth damage. It feeds a bacteria in the mouth that creates an acid that destroys tooth enamel. These natural acids eat away at tooth enamel over time. While patients may not feel the burn of acid, that does not mean that acid is not present. It will eat tooth enamel over time, causing severe and costly damage to the patient’s teeth. Patients do not recognize this damage until it is too late. Being aware of what foods and beverages contain the least amount of acid and will cause the least amount of damage.
Acid is not just in soda. It can also be in lemonade, some juices, sports drinks, and sugary drink mixes. The drinks that are the best for oral health are milk, water (especially if it is fluoridated), and unsweetened tea. Not only should people avoid frequent use of sugary drinks, but day long sipping on one sugary drink is not advised, either. It can cause serious damage to the teeth. It is the prolonged exposure to the sugar and acid that will break down the enamel of the teeth. It may be less sugar overall, but the teeth are still exposed to it for an extended period of time, which is just as bad for them.
Foods to Smile About
It may be surprising, but sugar free or low sugar foods are not really healthy for oral care. This means that little or no sugar was added during the making for the food, but does not account for the natural sweeteners that may have been added. Honey, fructose, barley malt, rice syrup, evaporated cane sugar, and molasses are all natural sugars that may have been added to the food. They can still cause tooth decay and should be avoided.
Sugar substitutes, which taste sweet and may resemble sugar, do not digest the same way as sugar. They do not feed the bacteria in the mouth that causes acid. Some examples of artificial sweeteners include aspartame, isomalt, sorbitol, and mannitol. There is also erythritol, saccharin, advantame, neotame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. All of these are examples of tooth friendly artificial sweetener. Some people can be sensitive to artificial sweeteners.
Overall, the best options for healthy food are cheese, meats (especially chicken), milk, and nuts. These foods are thought to remineralize teeth, since they contain phosphorus and calcium. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are also recommended. They contain a lot of water, dilutes the sugars in the food, causing less tooth damage.
This simple guide will help patients make better choices. These choices will promote dental health as well as overall body health. If you’re looking for any dental services in San Marcos, TX, be sure to call Larry Molenda D.D.S.