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Top Culprits of Tooth Decay: Food Edition

In a recent update, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research cautions that “approximately 5% of adults age 20 to 64 have no teeth.” Among those who have teeth, however, 92% from the same age group have “dental caries in their permanent teeth.”

Dental caries, also known as tooth decay, is defined by WebMD as “damage that occurs when germs (bacteria) in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. It can lead to a hole in the tooth called a cavity. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss.”

You would think that regular tooth brushing is enough to keep tooth decay at bay, but the truth is it is often not enough. How so? Consider the most likely culprits of dental caries: sugar and starch.

It goes to follow that avoidance of food that is high in sugar and starch can somewhat improve your oral health. Here are some food items you should avoid:

  • Tooth Decay-Causing Candy

    Sweets – Anything rich in sugar such as candies, jelly beans, cakes, and chocolates can damage your teeth. If you must satisfy your sweet tooth, make sure to drink plenty of water to help wash away stubborn sugars adhered to your teeth and gums. It’s also best to limit your consumption of such treats.

  • Starch and refined carbohydrates – Bread, pasta, and chips can break down into simple sugars and stay in your mouth. Once again, eat in moderation, and if you must eat them, wash them off quickly with water.
  • Acidic food – Lemon and other citrus fruits are rich in acid, which causes tooth decay.
  • Fruit juice – Fruit juices have added sugar, which has the same effect as sweets. Use a straw to keep them off your teeth.
    Carbonated soft drinks – Soda has high amounts of sugar and carbonation, which can wear the enamel on your teeth. The sugar and acid can also cause tooth decay.

How to get rid of tooth decay

Thankfully, tooth decay can still be kept at bay with proper oral hygiene. Here are some tips to ensure you have a healthy smile:

  • Practice proper oral hygiene – Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride. Clean your tongue, the insides of your cheeks, and the roof your mouth. Floss to get rid of all food debris, and use mouthwash.
  • Keep treats in check – Avoid overindulging in food rich in sugar and starch. If you must, eat them in moderation.
  • Get regular checkups – It is advisable to visit your dentist every six months for an oral cleaning. Also called oral prophylaxis, this will ensure that your mouth is in a healthy condition. A dentist will use a special instrument to scrape your teeth, ensuring that every food debris, tartar, and plaque buildup is effectively removed.

If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, you increase your chances of becoming part of the 5% of the population with no teeth. Take care of your pearly whites today by visiting Kyrene Family Dentistry. We can take care of your smile through oral prophylaxis and other dental services. Contact us at 480-705-9005.