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Nutrition for Oral Health

Minimize soda pop and sugary beverage consumption

Soda

Even diet soda frequently contains phosphoric acid or other acids that give the drink its “bite”. Sugars stick to pits, fissures and other “traps” in teeth, where bacteria are found. The bacteria convert the sugars to acids and enzymes that destroy tooth enamel. While they may not be explicitly labeled with “sugar” among their ingredients, many soft drinks contain other sugars (or carbohydrates) and/or acids (e.g. ascorbic acid, citric acid) that may contribute to tooth decay. If you consume these types of beverages, be sure to rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth as soon as possible after you drink them, to reduce the chance of developing cavities.

Read labels

Nutrition

Minimize beverages containing acids and sugars. Sugars normally end with the letters “ose”, such as sucrose, fructose, glucose, etc. Although bacteria that destroy tooth structure normally use only sucrose, other sugars such as fructose can be broken down by the bacteria and made into a form they can use. Other names for sugars include monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides (carbohydrates). Sucralose, a sugar substitute has been shown in some studies not to contribute to the formation of tooth decay.

Avoid excessive carbohydrate consumption

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Evidence continues to demonstrate that eating healthy foods, controlling portions, and committing to a regular exercise regimen improves general health and longevity. Between-meal snacks should include fruits and vegetables whenever possible. However, be sure to rinse your mouth with water after any snack, and brush your teeth as soon as possible to control acid levels that may contribute to dental caries (tooth decay).

Have healthy snacks

Healthy snacks

Snack on carrots or celery sticks, or other fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

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Author: Thomas J. Greany, D.D.S. / Editor: Ken Lambrecht

This page was last updated on July 1, 2015.

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