No matter what you eat, you need to protect your teeth from decay and erosion. However, some diets present more of a threat to oral health than others. At Southern Cross Dental in Colorado Springs, we provide high-quality, affordable restorative care to people suffering from mechanical and infection-induced damage to their enamel. But since we also value preventive care, we wanted to spotlight some common areas where people can improve.
Tooth decay occurs when certain species of oral bacteria eat the sugar in food debris. The bacteria secrete acid as a metabolization waste product, and the acid gets trapped in the film of biological material covering each tooth. Although bacteria can metabolize simple sugars more rapidly, given enough time, they can consume starches, as well. Some sugary substances, such as soda and citric juice, are also highly acidic and can directly erode the structure of enamel. Citric juice is commonly used as a flavoring in sour candy and energy gel, which can easily get stuck between teeth.
Problems with tooth decay and acidic content can be mitigated by brushing and flossing regularly, and by drinking plenty of water. Keeping the mouth wet will allow it to produce saliva, which washes away sugary residue and chemically counteracts acid. Chewing sugar-free gum is another way to stimulate saliva production and remove some food debris. But patients also need to avoid acid reflux disease, which introduces acid into the mouth from the stomach. This may require them to reduce their intake of red meat, onions and garlic, chocolate, tomatoes, and alcohol, especially right before lying down at night.