Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

Cariogenic: causing tooth decay.
Foods (such as candy and sweets) that contain sugar and other carbohydrates that can be metabolized by bacteria in plaque are described as cariogenic

How long food remains in mouth:
  • Sugary liquids, such as soft drinks, leave the mouth quickly and are not as cariogenic
  • Sticky foods, such as raisins or caramels, adhere to the teeth and stay in the mouth longer and are more cariogenic
Frequency vs. Amount:
  • Someone who snacks all day on small amounts of cariogenic food is far more likely to develop decay
  • Someone who eats a larger amount of cariogenic food, but only once a day, is less likely to develop decay 
Refined carbohydrates vs. Complex carbohydrates:
  • Foods such as crackers, although not sweet, are cariogenic because they contain refined carbohydrates that stick to the teeth. They remain in the mouth long enough to be broken down into sugars that can be used by the bacteria in plaque.
  • Complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, are less cariogenic because they clear the mouth before they are converted into simple sugars that can be used by bacteria.  
Flow of saliva to speed clearance of food from mouth and provide a source of dietary fluoride to strengthen the tooth and assist in remineralization
  • Sugarless gum or hard candy, as well as sipping water frequently, will increase the saliva flow
  • Various medicines can cause a dry mouth, and try to avoid spicy or salty foods

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