Foods and Dietary Practices that Can Cause Tooth Decay
If you read our earlier posts you know that the cause of tooth decay is, in simple terms, ACID. Acid is produced by certain bacteria in your mouth, these bacteria produce acid as a part of their life cycle and this production is fueled by sugar.
This process creates acids and an acidic pH level in the mouth resulting in demineralization and erosion of the enamel… creating holes and crumbling the otherwise strong teeth. So the solution lies with controlling the acid and pH created.
The further solution lies with consistently controlling the acidic environment in your mouth. This task is actually simpler than one would think and certainly is simpler than fixing cavities, getting a root canal or wearing dentures!
First is diet, the obvious answer is to avoid or limit sugary foods and acidic drinks. Now, this is not realistic for most of us on a 100% basis but there are ways to moderate the bad effects of acids and sugars in our diet, more on that in a moment.
But, since high sugar intake–whether from sweets, added sugars, condiments or simple carbohydrates, such as white flour that rapidly breaks down to sugars–is bad for your health then cutting back on these is a wise idea… and you might even lose some weight.
Other prime culprits are acidic drinks, such as sodas (whether diet or sugar) and many juices. For example:
- Gatorade has a pH of 2.4 is loaded with sugar
- Orange juice isn’t much better with a pH of 3.8 and tons of sugar as well-bad choice
- Coke and Pepsi are around a pH of 2.5, no need to point out the high sugar content there
- Most diet sodas are in the 3.0 range
- For comparison, stomach acid is at a pH of 2.0. A neutral pH is around 7.0–drinks in this range would include milk, water and brewed tea (no sugar)
Point being that these worthless drinks-sodas, diet sodas and even juices–deliver the double whammy of acid and sugars, a perfect cocktail for tooth decay.
One way to help control this is follow sugar intake with some pH balancing foods, such as cheese, or drinks such as black tea (no sugar) or water. However there is another factor that plays a big role in this, timing and exposure. Your body is a wondrous mechanism and it of course has evolved a method of stabilizing acid in the mouth, this is primarily through the production of saliva. Saliva helps to stabilize the pH to non-acidic levels as well as to remove the food particles and sugars from the mouth.
This process takes time, so if one is continually eating or drinking the sugary or acidic foods then the body never has a chance to restore a healthier pH level AND this gives the acid time to eat away at your teeth.
Example: one 16-oz soda or sugary treat taken in one sitting is far, far, far less destructive than that same soda sipped on all day long or a treat nibbled at.
So, while far better to knock off all that inferior food, you can do a lot to control the pH of your mouth by not sipping or grazing on these foods all day long. And when you do so, follow up with a rinse of water or a glass of brewed black tea-or a higher pH food such as a piece of cheese. In addition, chewing with a sugar-free gum (your best choice is a Xylitol sweetened gum) can help to not only clear the mouth but to stimulate saliva flow as well.
MESSAGE: Control the sugars and acidity by minimally NOT GRAZING or DRINKING acidic or sugars or simple carbohydrates throughout the day. Limit consumption of not only quantity but frequency as well. Follow such foods, minimally, with a rinse or swish of clean water.
A Consistent Oral Health Regimen to Prevent Cavities
While we won’t go into the best way to brush or floss your teeth here, there is one point that is important to make and will hopefully help to inspire you to take regular care of your teeth.
Most of us think of brush, flossing or tongue scraping as a means of cleaning our teeth and removing food residue. While this is true there is another VERY IMPORTANT reason we do these actions: we are disturbing the bacterial colonies and disrupting the destructive actions such as acid production and plaque build-up. That is why regular, routine oral hygiene is so important. If it was just food removal and cleaning then one could probably skip it and slack off, but the bacteria has a life cycle and the oral hygiene is a very critical element in the ongoing task of disrupting that life cycle before it causes harm to your teeth and gums.
Lesson to be learned: keep your oral health routine consistent and follow a twice-a-day practice for the best oral health results.
Oral Probiotics for Great Oral Health
Our oral probiotics do a number of amazing things for your mouth and for your health. But there are two actions or benefits that are really important to mention in terms of dental caries or cavities.
- One, the beneficial bacteria introduced works to inhibit the acid-producing bacteria by both crowding it out and by killing it off. This beneficial bacteria creates its own higher pH levels. So it delivers a double blow against an acidic and destructive pH level, restoring a healthier, neutral pH balance to your mouth.
- Two, the beneficial bacteria stimulates saliva flow which is critical to the health of your mouth and to combating tooth decay.
- Three: our formulation contains ingredients that actually remineralize the teeth, helping your body to restore and heal the damage caused by acidic erosion over time.
There you have it, follow this advice, get regular cleanings and consider adding our oral probiotics to your regimen and you’ll be way ahead in winning the game against tooth decay.