When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid. Acid is what eats away at our enamel and causes cavities.
How does acid get into our mouths?
Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.
Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy. Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy. Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.
How does acid harm teeth?
The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to occur. For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coats your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.
How to prevent acid from harming your teeth:
- Reduce your consumption of sweets and reﬁned starches.
- Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal.
- Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Swish with water after meals and snacks.
- Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup (ﬂoss at least once a day and brush twice a day).
As always, be sure to visit a dentist regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and check for early signs of decay.