Dental Guides

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay and Cavities

There are few natural gifts you are given that are more important than your teeth. Teeth are used every single day, often in ways you don’t think about. They help you communicate, keeping your jaw and lips in the proper formation. They are obviously an absolute necessity in the eating process, but they will also help you land a mate. How often are you drawn to a new person due to their bright, perfect smile? For all these reasons and more, it’s clear that taking care of your teeth should be a major life priority. Yet we eat and drink things at every meal that attack our teeth, eroding enamel, weakening our gums and causing decay. You won’t be able to cut these foods out entirely unless you are seriously committed. But keep an eye out for these foods that cause tooth decay and cavities, and try to minimize your exposure as much as possible.

The most obvious entry on this list is sugar. Any sugary food will help cause cavities. But did you know that it isn’t the sugar itself that’s such a problem? Instead, it’s how the bacteria in your mouth change these sugars. No matter how clean your mouth is, you’ve got germs in there. When you eat sugary food, it’s like ringing the lunch bell for those little buggers. When they eat the sugar, they release acid as a byproduct, and that acid is what leads to tooth decay. So do your best to limit your exposure to sugary foods, and you’ll notice a major difference in the amount of tooth decay and cavities you’ll contend with.

Yet sugar may not even be the biggest culprit. Acidic foods are actually just as big a cause of cavities. This includes things you probably know you should avoid, such as soda. But it also includes fruit juices and acidic foods such as fish. Basically, the acids in these foods act just like the byproduct left over after sugar is eaten by bacteria. It erodes the enamel on your teeth, which leads to cavities. In addition, your own stomach acid can cause the same effect. So make sure you avoid foods that give you heartburn, and you’ll cut down on the chance of tooth decay. Also make sure you brush your teeth after particularly acidic meals, to reduce the amount of time those acids have to work on your mouth.

Since this list is basically attacking every delicious guilty pleasure on the menu, it makes sense that carbohydrates must also be mentioned. Fruits and bread products also make this list, but so do vegetables, potatoes and rice. Basically, all of the above trigger the bacteria to produce acid, which slowly but surely erodes your teeth and causes holes in the enamel. Once the hole is there, continued exposure will expand it until your toothbrush can’t reach the problem. That’s when you’ll see the really bad cavities.

Keep in mind that it’s not about the quantity of these foods that you take in, but the amount of time your teeth are exposed. For instance, eating a bunch of sugary or acidic foods at lunchtime is one issue, but you can easily solve the problem by brushing your teeth after your meal. The major problem is constant exposure, such as when you sip a bottle of soda all afternoon long, or absently pop grapes in your mouth while working one afternoon. Check out bariatric advantage if you want to cut out your snacking but need to maintain a certain nutritional level. You’ll save a bit of money, and you’ll save your teeth at the same time.

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