Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Carlos Monsalve, DDS
Good Diet = Healthy Teeth
Carlos H. Monsalve, DDS, PA

Good Diet = Healthy Teeth

Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups.
Snacks We love them, they taste great, and they are usually a good source of quick energy.
Problem They can increase the acid that damages teeth. Some snack foods will cling between the teeth for hours. Most foods, including main meals and snacks can be contributing factors in producing cavities. It is not just the presence of sugar, but a combination of factors. Any food that contains sugar or starch is capable of causing decay.
Everyone immediately places the blame on sweets, but the truth is that sugars can be found in fruits, vegetables and even milk. Starches or fermentable carbohydrates such as potato chips, croissants, bread sticks, fresh doughy bread, pretzels, soda crackers and many types of cereal can stick to the teeth for some time after a meal. These starches mix with saliva in the mouth which contains an enzyme called amylase. The enzyme rapidly turns the starches into sugar. Therefore, starchy foods, as well as sugary ones, should be limited as between-meal snacks unless you are willing to brush your teeth right after you eat them.
There is no perfect way to eliminate sugar from your diet. Therefore, the next best step is to eat sensibly and confine sugary sweets to mealtime as much as possible. Research shows that their powers to damage teeth are reduced when ingested along with meals.
The texture of a food, its lack of crispness, its moistness, and its capacity to stick on the teeth without stimulating the flow of saliva all need to be considered. Sticky snacks such as raisins, fruit roll-ups, caramels, dried fruits, and honey cling to the chewing surfaces of teeth as well as collecting at the gum line and can be more detrimental to dental health than other forms of sugar.
Recommended steps for preventing cavities in children
Make sure your child's teeth are cleaned every day. While a good approach is to brush following every meal, this is not a requirement. However, it's a good idea to brush the teeth especially well before the child goes to bed.
Make sure your child's teeth are protected by fluoride. Fluoride acts as a shield on the teeth and will help retard the actions of the bacteria in the mouth.
Practice healthy snacking by reading labels for sugar content, keeping healthy ready-to-eat snacks on hand, seeing that your child snacks less often and avoiding sweet snacks at bedtime (this includes sweetened drinks) as the saliva flow is lowest at night.
The realistic approach to preventing cavities and keeping healthy teeth for a lifetime is a sensible and nutritious diet; regular oral care, including daily brushing and flossing; and dental check-ups every six months.
MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130