What you eat and how often you eat it, is just as important for your teeth and gums as it is for your body. Food and drinks that contain starch and sugar react to the bacteria in your mouth by producing acid and forming dental plaque – a thin sticky film that covers your teeth and penetrates beneath your gums. This plaque causes two problems: It attacks your tooth enamel, beginning the process of tooth decay. And if not removed, it can also lead to gum disease, which is the main cause of adult tooth loss.
The more often you consume products with starch and sugar, the longer your teeth are exposed to decay causing acid. The more acid that is produced, the greater your chance is of developing dental decay. The quantity of sugary foods and drink you consume is less relevant for your oral hygiene than the frequency at which you consume them. Eating snacks between meals or sipping on sweetened drinks, both soft drinks and sweetened tea or coffee throughout the day will expose your teeth to more acid over a longer period.
Reducing how often you have sugary drinks and snacks will help to maintain your optimal oral health. Chewing sugar free gum will also stimulate saliva production, your body’s natural neutraliser to mouth acid, however “grazing” on foods throughout the day will produce more acid than you can neutralise. Rinsing with water after eating can also help.
A diet high in fresh fruit, raw vegetables and nuts and cheese will not only be better for you, but these foods do not cling to your teeth and so reduce the amount of time your teeth are exposed to harmful bacteria acid.