Regarding oral health, diet is an integral part of the equation. If you’re exposed to bacteria or food particles while brushing your teeth or snacking, they can get trapped between your teeth and gums. The bacteria could then grow within the crevices of your teeth or gums between brushings, leading to tooth decay or cavities.
Dental caries is a disease of the teeth that begins when harmful bacteria, food debris, and sugars adhere to the tooth surface.
(a soft, sticky, colorless film) constantly forms on teeth and thrives in an environment with certain conditions: a lack of fluoride, frequent snacking or eating sugary foods, poor brushing, or no brushing during the day.
These conditions can lead to tooth decay and cavities by causing acid erosion of the enamel faster than it can be repaired.
Processed Foods and Tooth Decay
From a fundamental scientific standpoint, there’s a strong connection between cavities’ development and processed food consumption. While many factors determine whether a person will develop cavities, such as genetics and oral hygiene, processed foods can play a significant role in the bacteria that cause tooth decay. In particular, these foods’ “refined” nature reduces their nutritional value and makes them more acidic than their natural counterparts.
There’s a Limit to How Much Damage Sugar Can Do
While it is true that reducing your consumption of refined grains and sugary drinks may reduce the amount of sugar in your mouth, it could also lead to vitamin deficiencies and poor nutrition. While limiting sugar intake is essential, it’s vital to ensure you get enough vitamin C, B vitamins, and iron. Vitamin C deficiency is particularly prevalent in the Western diet, in which grains, fruit, and vegetables are eaten less often than in other parts of the world. As for B vitamins, it is recommended that vegans and vegetarians eat foods high in B vitamins, including fortified cereals, fortified soy milk, some plant-based milk, brussels sprouts, etc.
Practical Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health
Make Sure to Brush your Teeth Before you Go to Bed
This is important because it keeps food particles from getting stuck in your gums or teeth while they’re not being brushed. Using toothpaste that contains fluoride can help strengthen your teeth so that they’re less likely to decay or break down over time. A dry mouth can lead to increased tooth decay and cavities, so ensure you always have water near when brushing your teeth if they tend to dry quickly.
Eat a Diet High in Fiber and Low in Processed Food
Fiber can help your body digest foods more efficiently, which means harmful bacteria are less likely to find their way into your mouth. Processed foods often contain added sugars or large amounts of sodium, making it easier for bacteria to thrive in your mouth.
Consider Avoiding Acidic Drinks and Drinks with High Sugar Content
Drinks like soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks have a high acidity that may increase the amount of time it takes for food particles to dissolve in your mouth. This can increase the chances that bacteria will get trapped between your teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay over time.
Visit the Dentist Regularly for Checkups and Cleanings
Your dentist can help you ensure that you’re practicing good oral hygiene at home. They may also be able to tell if there are any signs of tooth decay or cavities.
Ask your Dentist about Fluoride Treatments
In some areas, water is treated with fluoride, but in others, it’s not. Many dentists offer inexpensive treatments that can help strengthen your teeth against cavities and tooth decay over time. While fluoride treatments may only be suitable for some, they’re a great option if you live in an area without fluoridated water or have healthy water that doesn’t naturally include the mineral in large amounts.
Try Brushing with an Electric Toothbrush
Instead of a manual brush, an electric toothbrush is more effective at cleaning between your teeth and helps to prevent plaque buildup, which is why they’re recommended by dentists for people who brush with a manual brush from time to time.
These are just a few ideas to prevent tooth decay from occurring in your mouth. To have optimal oral health, it is best to follow these steps and maintain good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing every day and visiting your dental office.