Cavities form from having food particles left in the mouth and on the surface of your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth devour the food and a by-product of their feast is acid, which can eat a hole, or cavity, in the tooth’s enamel. Left untreated, the cavity can cause considerable pain. It can also destroy the dentin, pulp and the tooth’s nerve.
What foods cause cavities?
Although many kinds of food can cause cavities, foods high in processed sugar, starch and simple carbohydrates are particularly problematic because the provide the bacteria with a high-energy source.
Diet, including consumption of poor food choices, plays a major role in tooth decay. For example, according to the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, soda consumption has increased from 22.2 gallons of cola per person per year in 1970 to more than 53 gallons per person per year in 2000. It then went to 62 gallons per person as of 2005.
How can I avoid cavities?
Regular brushing of the teeth, at least twice a day for two to four minutes per time, and flossing can significantly reduce the chances of tooth decay. Brushing removes bacteria as well as the food debris that bacteria thrive on.
What else can I do to prevent cavities?
Wash off food particles that remain on the teeth by following each meal or snack with water.
Eating cheese can help to prevent tooth decay researchers say. They aren’t certain why this works, but it may be that cheese contains compounds that neutralize acids in the mouth before they do damage.
Other foods like peanut butter counteract the acids in the mouth that wear down the tooth enamel. Be careful, though, to buy plain, all natural peanut butter without added sugar of any kind. In other words make sure it’s made from peanuts, unlike Skippy which is flavoured Crisco shortening.
Other tooth-saving foods include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Olives and dill pickles
- Raw milk, plain yogurt and aged cheeses
If you need fillings from a dentist get ceramic, not metal.