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How Does My Food Intake Affect My Oral Health

Healthy teeth and gums depend on what and how often you eat. It is common knowledge that eating foods with high sugar and carbohydrate content can cause tooth decay and cavities. The moment you put food into your mouth, things start to happen. For example, when you put food rich in carbohydrates into your mouth, it breaks down into sugar. This sugar is used by the bacteria in your teeth to make acids. The acid eats up the enamel of your teeth, causing tooth decay and cavities.

Here are some of the foods that you put into your mouth and how they affect your oral health:

Foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates
Some studies have shown that eating snacks that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates several times between meals is more harmful than eating them with your meals. For example, eating cookies or pastries every other hour before lunchtime or before dinner can easily harm the teeth and gums. This is because there are no other foods to regulate the production of acids in the mouth. However, when you eat these foods with your meal that include chicken, cheese, nuts, and meat, the production of acids is reduced. These foods are also known to strengthen the enamel of your teeth. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, avoid eating these foods as snacks. Instead, eat them with your usual meal, either during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Candies and pastries can be included in the meal as dessert.

Soft drinks and other beverages with high sugar content
Jolly Rancher Soda Pop

Sipping your soft drinks or soda slowly increases the danger to your teeth and gums than when you finish it in just a few minutes. When you slowly sip your drink for an hour or more, your teeth and gums will be exposed to the acid that they contain for a longer period of time. The acid weakens your tooth enamel and makes it prone to tooth decay and cavities. It is recommended that you take these drinks with your meals because you finish them quickly and you drink water after eating. Water will wash away the acid from your mouth so that your teeth and gums will not be soaked in it for a long period. This will reduce the effect of soft drinks or soda that you drink. Other harmful beverages are tea, coffee, and chocolate that are sweetened with sugar.

Mints and other hard candies

Many people love to suck on some candies or mints because it satisfies their craving for sweets. While doing this increases the production of saliva, which is good for the teeth, the candy or mint helps the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid in the mouth. The amount of acids from the candy or mint is more than enough to weaken the enamel of the teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities. It can damage the gums and weaken them, which is the common cause of teeth loss.

Too much acidic fruits
Citrus fruits are high in acid and that is why most of them are sour. Eating too much of these fruits increases the acidity of your mouth. The acid eats up the enamel of the tooth and causes it to break down. Eventually, this can make cavities build up especially on the molars. The infection can spread to the gums and other parts of the mouth and result in some oral diseases.

Chewing gums
Some people chew gums to keep their breath fresh. However, this habit can bring you poor oral health. The sugar in the chewing gum is converted into acid and it can cause tooth and gum problems. The teeth and gums weaken and they become prone to breaking down.

Junk foods

Nowadays, people’s consumption of junk foods like Takis is at its highest. Both children and adults prefer to eat burgers, French fries, chips, curls, and cookies. It is because these foods are ready to eat and there are plenty of them anywhere you go. People enjoy munching them while they watch movies, travel, work, and study. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there is a proliferation of diseases of the teeth, gums, and mouth. Snacking on fruits and vegetables is the best and healthiest option. Have sliced apples, carrots, celery, and nuts near you while you work, study, or enjoy a film. Eat them when you feel the urge to have something to munch or chew.

If you have tooth decay, visit MyDental Group in Brunswick, a dental office that has a team of health professionals that specializes in oral health. Have your regular dental check-up, teeth cleaning, and treatments for whatever oral problems that you suffer.

Eating the right food and brushing your teeth after every meal is not enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Include a regular visit to the dentist to make sure that you have excellent oral health.

About Dr. Emily
Dr. Emily Pow was the previous Secretary and President of the Bendigo Oral Health and Dentistry Society. Now she practices in Australia at MyDental Group.

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