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When it comes to preventing tooth decay, how often you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Tooth decay has long been linked to eating sugary foods — however, sweets are just part of the equation. Whether or not you develop cavities depends on many factors — including the foods you eat, how often you eat, whether or not you get regular dental checkups, the genetic makeup of your teeth and how much saliva your body naturally produces.
Everything you eat passes through your mouth — and when you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, changes occur that potentially can lead to cavities. Bacteria contained in the plaque that constantly forms on our teeth mixes with carbs to make acids capable of damaging tooth enamel. And so, over time, exposure to these acids may cause tooth enamel to break down — resulting in cavities.
But there are some things you can do to help minimize the amount of acid created by the bacteria on your teeth — thus help prevent tooth decay.
1. Practice a balanced diet based on variety and moderation. An adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is essential for healthy teeth and gums.
2. The best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).
3. Limit between-meal snacking to help reduce the time your teeth are exposed to acid. Bacteria in plaque produce potentially harmful acids for 20 to 40 minutes after each exposure to carbohydrates.
4. Drink fluoridated water if you can. Water helps rinse the teeth, and fluoride helps protect against dental decay.
5. If you smoke or use tobacco in any form, please quit. Smoking or using smokeless tobacco increases your risk of tooth decay and other oral health issues.
6. Whenever possible, brush your teeth after eating. It removes the plaque-containing bacteria that create the harmful acids. If you cannot brush after every meal, brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoridated toothpaste that has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
7. Floss, floss, and floss. Floss your teeth after brushing once or twice each day to remove plaque from all tooth surfaces and where the tooth meets the gums. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum problems and cavities.
8. Last, but certainly not least, have regular dental checkups that include a complete oral exam and thorough cleaning.
We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Our dentists can help everyone in your family understand the importance of proper oral hygiene over time and the positive effects it has on your health. At Family Care Dental Clinic, we provide a truly soothing environment where our clients can receive quality dental care no matter what their needs are. Call (604) 987-3545 or please visit our appointment page to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team.