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Preventative Dentistry

Diet & Decay

Decay

Everything you eat has an influence on your general health and body, but your diet will also affect your dental health.

Plaque is a soft, sticky film on the surface of your teeth and gums. When you eat and drink, the bacteria in plaque convert sugar and starch to an acid that can erode tooth enamel, causing the development of tooth decay and cavities.

It is not the quantity of sugar you consume that is the important factor, but the frequency. Snacking on sweet foods and sipping on soft drinks throughout the day results in a drop in pH levels in your mouth and exposes your teeth to acid attacks for prolonged periods.

Good tooth friendly foods include:

  • Cheese and plain yogurt
  • Chicken and other meats
  • Some raw vegetables – carrot and celery sticks
  • Nuts
  • Plain crisps

Good tooth friendly drinks include:

  • Fluoridated water
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Milk – except late night before bed

Saliva is your body’s natural neutraliser of food acid and returns your mouth to a pH neutral state. However, this will depend on the quality and quantity of saliva produced.

The Dentists can test your saliva for effectiveness and quantity.

Chewing sugarless gum after eating will increase saliva flow and help neutralise acid. Rinsing your mouth with fluoridated water aids in removing acidic acids and is recommended after eating acidic foods to reduce the chances of decay.