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Which Foods Cause and Prevent Cavities?

To prevent cavities and maintain good overall oral health, it’s important to make regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and checkups. That said, it’s also important to maintain good oral hygiene at home. Unfortunately, even when they practice excellent oral hygiene, some patients still end up with cavities. Often, this is due to dietary habits which promote the development of plaque.

What Foods Promote Tooth Decay?

Most people understand that sugary foods promote cavities; however, food composition and texture can also play a role. To reduce the risk of cavities, you should understand which foods cause the most problems.

  • Sticky foods – Because they tend to adhere to teeth for long periods, dried fruits, gummies and chewy candies give bacteria extra time to cause damage.
  • Long-lasting foods – Foods such as cough drops and lollipops expose our teeth to sugar for long periods of time, resulting in increased plaque buildup.
  • Starchy foods – soft, starchy foods, such as white bread, pretzels and french fries, easily become lodged in teeth. Our saliva also quickly converts these starchy foods into bacteria-building sugars.
  • Acidic foods and beverages – By wearing down enamel, tomatoes, citric fruits and sodas promote tooth decay.
  • Very hard foods – Ice, nuts and hard candies can create tiny fractures, which give bacteria excellent places to collect over time.

What You Can Do

Just as some foods promote tooth decay; others support good dental health. Foods such as apples, yogurt and pears help neutralize acid. Additionally, because high-fiber vegetables take longer to chew, they help create more saliva which rinses bacteria and acid from our mouths.

In the end, foods that are healthy for our bodies tend to be better for our teeth. By enjoying healthier diets, we can promote better dental health. With that being said, to avoid painful, expensive restorative procedures, it’s important to visit the dentist on a regular basis.

To keep your teeth clean and catch cavities before they erupt into major problems, contact Dr. Siegel's office to schedule a dental cleaning and checkup.