You understand the basics of oral health. You brush your teeth twice a day and floss. Every six months, you see your dentist for preventative check-ups, yet you are still getting cavities. What gives?
It could be your diet! Studies have linked drinking 1–2 sugar-sweetened beverages a day to a 31% higher risk of cavities. Today we are breaking down the most common foods that cause cavities and what to eat instead! Read on!
The Top 3 Foods that Cause Cavities
- Candy. It’s no surprise sugar takes the top spot on this list. The high concentration of sugar in candy, particularly sticky or sour candy, interacts with bacteria within plaque and releases a harsh acid that breaks down enamel. Candy stuck to your teeth can prolong acid production, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
- Bread. You may not have expected to see this on the list of foods that cause cavities. Saliva breaks down the starches found in bread, creating sugar. This sugar gives way to acid production and breaks down teeth. To combat this, choose a whole-wheat bread that has minimal sugar.
- Alcohol. Alcohol causes dry mouth, which means there is a lack of saliva to wash away cavity-causing sugary acids. Remember to drink water while you are enjoying alcohol responsibly!
Foods that Cause Cavities for Children:
Children are particularly at risk for cavities. Ages six through eighteen are the most cavity-prone years. Fermentable carbohydrates consumed by children will produce cavity-causing acid for up to 20 minutes after consumption. If not thoroughly washed away with water, saliva, or teeth brushing, plaque (hardened bacteria) will form, and tooth decay will begin. Avoid these popular children’s foods when possible!
- Candy. The rapid production of acid can cause significant damage to the enamel surface, which leads to cavities.
- Dried Fruits. Although a “better for you” option to candy, dried fruits can stick to children’s teeth leading to plaque formation and subsequent cavities
- Potato Chips. Potato chips are among the foods with the highest level of starch. Just like in bread, this starch quickly breaks down into sugar. This sugar then takes the all-too-familiar course of causing acid production in your mouth, destroying children’s enamel.
How to Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay
This all may sound scary, but don’t worry! You can ward off cavities and keep your teeth healthy with healthy habits. There are many foods you can choose from that do not cause cavities. Many foods can even help you achieve good oral health!
Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth
Any vegetable or fruit that is rich in fiber is a good choice for your oral health. Here are a few below:
Dairy products are a home run. Milk, cheese, and yogurt produce significant saliva. Additionally, the calcium and phosphates found in dairy products help to remineralize and strengthen tooth enamel.
- Fibrous Vegetables and Fruit
The fibrous texture of the fruit or vegetable can help keep your teeth clean and triggers saliva production. Celery, carrots, leafy green vegetables, and apples are all great options!
- Foods Low In Sugar
Foods low in sugar will reduce the risk of inflammation which can lead to the breakdown of the gums. They will also reduce the risk of producing bacteria that eats away at your teeth’ enamel.
Prevent Cavities with Good Oral Health Choices
On top of making better food choices, you need to make good oral health choices to fight cavities. One step is drinking fluoride enriched water, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, or eating foods with fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral known for remineralizing and strengthening tooth enamel and can help prevent tooth decay.
Brushing gently for 2 minutes twice a day can dramatically decrease your risk of tooth decay, inflammation, and bad breath. Dr. Plotka designed his brushes with flossing bristles that can reach places other brushes miss and clean deep into grooves where 95% of cavities form! In addition, flossing will remove tiny food particles and residue between teeth. Rinsing can also help wash away acid and bacteria from your mouth. A rigorous yet simple oral care routine can help ensure a healthy smile for a lifetime!