Our bodies happen to be fairly complex machines. The foods that we select to eat and the number of times that we eat them tends to have an effect on our overall health. This is inclusive of our gums and teeth as well. Common sense suggests that if we eat too many foods that contain excess sugar such as non nutritious snacks, sodas and fruit drinks that are laden with sweeteners, they would harm our teeth. As far as chronic childhood ailments are concerned tooth decay happens to be the commonest out there. However, this can be prevented.
How do teeth get cavities?
The sugar present in the food and drinks that we eat is consumed by the cavity forming bacteria present in our mouth. These bacteria start to produce acid; which attacks the surface of our tooth i.e. enamel and the tooth starts to decay and cavities are formed.
So how can we prevent tooth decay and keep our teeth and gums healthy? Here are some ways of doing the same:
1) Always watch what you eat:
As stated earlier, consumption of foods that contain a high amount of sugar leads to dental problems. Talk to your doctor or a registered nutritionist to find out a healthy diet suitable for you as per your age and nutritional requirement. Lack of optimal nutrition can also lead to infections of the mouth. So it is important to follow a balanced diet that ideally contains food from 5 prominent food groups such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein food, and fat-free and low-fat dairy foods. Read the ingredient labels of food products and beverages for nutritional content so that you can make an informed decision. Always choose the options that have the least amount of sugar. Normally foods such as soft drinks, cookies, candies, and pastries are the commonest sources of sugar.
2) Avoid frequent snacking:
The more number of times you snack, the more your teeth are going to be attacked by the acid produced by the cavity forming bacteria present in your mouth. So keep in between meal snacking to a minimum. If you feel like having a snack, choose healthy options like low sugar fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery etc. Avoid foods with high sugars like biscuits, cereals, chips, chocolates and even dried fruit.
3) Drink plenty of water:
Water is the best zero calorie alternative to any soft drinks. It will also add to your over all health and keep you hydrated.
4) Sugar free Chewing Gum:
Yes, you read it right! Recent research studies have found that the physical act of chewing gum after eating a meal helps to produce more saliva. This flow of saliva can help neutralize and wash away the acid produced by the cavity causing bacteria.
A healthy diet is just one part of maintaining good dental health. You always have to back it up with good oral hygiene. So remember to brush twice a day with a fluoride tooth paste and floss at least once a day. And remember to visit your nearest dentist on a regular basis to catch any dental problems at an early stage.