From the second half of the 20th century we are experiencing a decrease in the prevalence of dental caries in industrialized countries. This fact is due both to dental hygiene habits and to the proliferation of fluoride in the water we ingest and to the toothpastes and mouth rinses that we use.
However, tooth decay remains the most common dental problem in children and adolescents as well as in adults. For that reason, in this article we are going to see why cavities are produced and how we can fight them.
What cavities are and how they are produced
The cavities are holes that affect the teeth and which occur due to the drinks or foods containing fermentable carbohydrates (sugars and starches).
When these come into contact with the bacteria in the mouth, acids are produced that erode and demineralize the enamel of the teeth and destroy their proteins.
Therefore, the longer they remain in our oral cavity, the more likely we are to develop caries.
In addition, both the amount and frequency with which these foods are consumed, as well as the time of day they are ingested, will also be decisive for the appearance of this dental problem.
Thus, for example, the products consumed during a meal are less harmful to our teeth, since the saliva generated during this process will help to clean and eliminate food from our mouth and thus reduce the effect of acids.
On the contrary, the fact of eating between meals favors the development of these harmful bacteria, since the lack of dental hygiene – not brushing our teeth after “chopping” something – we add a lower generation of saliva.
How to avoid cavities: solutions
To avoid the appearance of caries it is important to carry out a series of healthy habits:
- Maintain proper dental hygiene: brush your teeth after each meal for 2 minutes.
- Take care of your diet : in the following sections you will find a list of the healthiest and most harmful foods and drinks for your teeth.
- Add fluoride to your diet : although it is not very present in food, you can find fluoride in both water and oral supplements.
- Visit your dentist regularly: an appropriate periodicity can be once or twice a year (unless you are doing a treatment, in which case your dentist will establish how often you have to go).
- Go for a professional dental clinic in Dubai : although it is usual to go once a year, ask your dentist or hygienist what is the most appropriate periodicity for you
Importance of a good diet
In general, the hectic pace of life that we tend to have makes us resort to precooked products or the so-called “junk food”, which is precisely the type of food with more simple sugars and carbohydrates.
That is, this is the ideal substrate for the proliferation of dental bacteria that cause cavities.
Therefore, it is important that the diet we make is rich in nutrients and that it is transmitted from generation to generation starting even from pregnancy.
In fact, it is from the sixth week of pregnancy when the sugars consumed can harm the correct calcification of the baby’s teeth and affect the development of dental diseases.
In the case of children of growing age, a balanced and varied diet can help both the formation and the maturation of the teeth.
In this phase it is key that a diet rich in fluoride (protector against external aggressions) and calcium (favoring the mineralization of the teeth) is accompanied by good dental hygiene habits.
On the other hand, during adulthood, an adequate diet will favor the maintenance of good oral health, avoid the appearance of dental diseases and prevent the loss of teeth.
What foods help us maintain proper dental health?
Having said that, let’s tell you what are the foods and drinks that contribute to your good oral health. And, the nutrients are the basis of good nutrition for both our body and our teeth, and they will prevent us from suffering infections that lead to more serious problems or diseases – gingivitis, periodontitis, loss of teeth.
For good dental health we will need to include in our diet the following nutrients:
- Proteins : their lack can produce a delay in the development of milk teeth.
- Calcium, fluoride and vitamin D : help teeth to form strong and healthy.
- Vitamin C and K : they allow to have healthy gums and prevent the appearance of gingivitis.
- Vitamin A : favors the proper development of tooth enamel.
- Vitamin B2 : its lack can cause inflammation of the tongue, cracked lips and sores or mouth ulcers.
And, more specifically, we are going to tell you what are the foods and drinks that we recommend to enjoy a healthy smile:
- Drink a lot of water.
- Take milk and its derivatives (yogurt, cheese) after meals and before brushing: they help neutralize the acidity of the plaque and are rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A, B and D.
- Eat apples, carrots, celery and cucumber : they help clean the surface of the teeth and strengthen the gums.
- Drink green or black tea (without sugar): contains polyphenols, which help control the bacteria that cause cavities.
- Eat chocolate instead of jelly beans or candies: the cocoa bean has antibacterial contents.
- Consume kiwi: it has an amount of vitamin C six times higher than orange, helps maintain collagen in the gums and prevents periodontal diseases.
- Take sesame seeds : in addition to being rich in calcium, they help to loosen the plate and rebuild the enamel.
In addition to the foods just mentioned and good for our teeth, there are some guidelines that favor dental hygiene and protect the enamel.
- Chew gum without sugar and with xylitol : the chewing and salivation that occur when doing so favor the cleaning of the mouth and the removal of bacteria. However, we must emphasize that this does not replace brushing, but is only an aid or complement.
- Brush your teeth before taking citrus juices and you will create a protective layer against acids.
And if in addition to improving your hygiene you want to have a fresh breath, try chewing mint, mint or parsley!
Food to consume in moderation
As we have advanced at the beginning of this article, in addition to the food itself, there are a number of factors that determine what is more cariogenic :
- Consistency : soft foods tend to stay between our teeth more easily than hard ones. Examples would be cookies, chocolates, certain nougat
- Adhesiveness : the more sticky a food is, the longer it will come in contact with our teeth and the more damage it will cause. This is the case of chewable candies, jelly beans, caramelized nuts
- The degree of sugar : soft drinks and other sugary drinks have a high content of acids, which will accelerate the process of demineralization of tooth enamel.
- The moment we eat : “chopping” between meals favors the appearance of decay rather than during meals, since salivation and constant chewing help to eliminate waste.
- The frequency : of course, the more we eat this type of food, the more likely we are to develop caries.
If in addition to the caries derived from these foods you want to avoid staining or darkening your teeth, we recommend reducing the consumption of drinks such as coffee, red wine or tea.
This is especially important for patients who are undergoing a teeth whitening treatment.
As you see, maintaining a balanced diet not only has benefits for your general health and makes you feel good inside and out.
In addition, it helps your teeth and gums are healthy, your mouth is kept safe from periodontal diseases -which are produced by the increase of bacterial plaque- and keep your original teeth all your life.