If you care about having good oral health, then a good place to start looking after your teeth and gums is to consider what you eat and drink. In so far as controlling your diet as a preventive measure against dental ailments, there are four major groups of food items that you may wish to pay particular attention to. They are: Soft drinks; acidic fruits; white bread (starch and refined carbohydrates); and alcohol.
Let’s look at each of these in detail and study why indulging in these foods can have detrimental effects on your teeth and gums:
Over time, the acids in the foods you eat or drink can strip away the outer layer of your teeth, known as the tooth enamel. Acid softens and removes minerals from the tooth’s natural protective layer through a process known as demineralization, which can eventually lead to decay. You can determine the acid content of the fruit by measuring its pH value – the lower the pH, the higher the acidity. Generally speaking, foods with a pH value below 7 are considered acidic.
Fruits considered high in acid content include cranberries, lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. To prevent them from harming your enamel, you are encouraged to consume these fruits with water. You may also try eating them along with other foods that are high in pH value (alkaline) such as cheese, nuts, mangoes, fish, lean meats, bananas and eggs. These foods can help to neutralize the acids in your saliva and provide the necessary nutrients to restore the minerals.
The consumption of sugary soft drinks over long periods of time can result in the proliferation of plaque bacteria, which relies on the sugar to produce acids that attack and erode your tooth enamel.
Carbonated soft drinks are both acidic and high in sugar content. When you consume these sugary beverages, there is always that danger of sugar latching onto your teeth. Since bacteria feed off the sugar, the plaque bacteria in your mouth would consume the sugar and begin to produce the enamel-destroying acid and develop cavities as a result. This is also why sugary carbonated drinks are known as one of the most common dietary causes of tooth decay.
Starchy foods like white bread can also be bad for your teeth. Starch is a refined carbohydrate. When starchy foods come into contact with saliva, they immediately break down into sugars, which effectively also makes them a cavity-causing type of food. Starchy foods also get caught between teeth easily, making them difficult to remove thus increasing the likelihood of the sugar staying on the teeth long enough to wreak havoc.
It is found that those who suffer from alcohol dependency tend to have higher plaque levels on th
eir teeth and are more likely to suffer from permanent tooth loss. Alcohol is also high in acid and sugar content, especially when they are mixed with soda drinks. Apart from the sugar content, the chromogens that are used to colour the beverage attach easily to tooth enamel and cause teeth staining. Most alcoholic drinks also dry the mouth, thereby curbing saliva flow – essential for removing bacteria and plaque from the tooth’s surface while keeping your teeth moist while.
If you are looking for a trusted dental team for all your general, cosmetic and restorative dental needs, please contact Sydney CBD Dental at (02) 9232 3900.