While it’s okay to eat unhealthy foods in moderation, certain foods accelerate tooth decay and are best to be avoided for the most part. The biggest offenders are foods high in sugar and starches.
Cavities are holes that appear in the teeth and are signs of decay. What causes cavities? Well, one of the biggest causes is a combination of bacteria, acid, and food particles. When food particles aren’t thoroughly scrubbed away, they can lead to the accumulation of plaque.
Bacteria which is present inside the mouth then transforms these food particles into acid, which erodes your enamel and contributes to decay. Cavities are caused by bacteria that produce acid and this acid loves to feed on carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate foods include:
The problem with starchy foods is that they are converted into sugar and can get stuck between your teeth. It’s okay to eat these in moderation but beware that they pose a greater risk of tooth decay. A good countermeasure to take after eating carbohydrate-rich foods is to quickly brush your teeth afterward.
Foods that are high in sugar dissolve your enamel as a result of bacteria that feed off of sugar. This leads to hole formations in the teeth, also known as cavities. High sugar foods to be avoided include:
Citrus fruits and juices are a double whammy because they are high in sugar and they are acidic, both of which are damaging to your teeth. Acid causes enamel erosion and sugar contribute to cavity formation. Citrus fruits and juices to avoid include:
While sports drinks are often marketed to be healthy, because they replenish electrolytes, they are often extremely high in sugar and carbohydrates. These things, of course, contribute to cavities and the weakening of the enamel.
Soda is a more obviously unhealthy drink of choice, which is loaded with sugar and often has no nutritional value. Not only do they lead to erosion of the enamel and cavities, but they can also stain your child’s teeth, leading to permanent discoloration which can only be improved through teeth whitening or more extensive cosmetic dental work such as veneers.
This list isn’t meant to deter your child from ever enjoying a snack or a piece of Halloween candy. Rather, it’s meant to be an informational tool to empower them to make good choices and protect their teeth early on.
Because oral hygiene and health habits are built in early childhood, cementing the importance of nutrition and avoiding foods that contribute to cavities early on will likely stick with them for the rest of their lives.
Likewise, if this importance isn’t drilled into their minds or taught to them at all, they may not realize the havoc that these foods and drinks can have on their teeth. This may lead to extensive dental decay which can require more major dental work and end up being very costly.
In addition to making healthy food choices, you still need to ensure that your child is brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. Visiting the dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning and checkup will allow us to prevent the formation of cavities and catch decay early on. Contact us at Willow Pediatric Dentistry today for a dental cleaning and checkup with Dr. Sam Alzayat.