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How Can Foods and Drinks Cause Tooth Decay?

Can I sip and snack all day without risking tooth decay

After a long day, many of us like relaxing back, kicking our feet up, and enjoying our favorite chips, candy, or soda. While we commonly recognize these foods as bad for our waistlines, did you know they're also bad for our oral health?

A steady diet of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, including sports and energy drinks, can damage teeth and lead to tooth decay. We must remember, what we eat and drink can affect our teeth and gums.

How Sugary and Acidic Foods Damage Teeth

Our mouths naturally contain bacteria, including some that are harmful to teeth. When we consume sugary foods, the bacteria in our mouth eat it too. However, when they feed on those sugars, they produce acids as a byproduct. Acids attack the tooth enamel, which is the protective outer layer of the teeth. With less enamel, our teeth begin to decay.

In addition to this, the combination of bacteria, acids, and food particles forms a sticky film called plaque that adheres to the teeth. Plaque provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive and continue producing acids. Over time, plaque can harden and turn into tartar, which is much harder to remove and can contribute to further tooth decay.

Preventing Decay Caused by Sugar & Acidity

Keep in mind, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks will not prevent tooth decay. It will lower your chances, but not entirely prevent the issue. Almost all foods have some type of sugar, so it cannot be completely eliminated from your diet.

Having a sugary dessert every once and a while is fine, but constant snacking can cause damage.

If you're looking to mitigate the negative effects of sugar and acid, try brushing after your slice of cake, bowl of ice cream, or cup of juice. You can also educate yourself about which foods have high acidity and/or sugar content. Check the nutrition info on your packaging or look up foods or drinks you're not sure about.

Remember, a healthy diet is the way to a healthy smile. Visit your dentist regularly, because your oral health is important. If you're in the California area, book an appointment with us today!

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