Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced, healthy diet, but they are also one of the main culprits in tooth erosion and decay. Since we can’t cut carbs out our diets completely, we have to understand how the carbs cause cavities so we can prevent them.
When you eat carbs, you are not just nourishing yourself; you are also nourishing the cavity forming bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria that cause cavities feed on the carbs in your mouth. During the feeding process the bacteria cause your mouth to become more acidic. This acid in your mouth starts eroding the tooth, beginning the first steps towards tooth decay.
Since you can’t avoid eating carbs altogether, what should you do to avoid cavities?
Eat the right carbs
Avoid eating sticky carbs that cling to your teeth. If the food is stuck to your teeth, it provides a constant source of food to the bacteria, causing more erosion.
Don’t let food stick around
Rinse out your mouth and floss after eating. Don’t brush immediately after eating though, since that worsens the acid action taking place on your teeth.
Reduce the acidity of your mouth
You can do this by chewing gum after a meal! This stimulates the production of saliva, neutralizing the acid in the mouth. Also, try avoiding carbonated beverages and orange juice, since those drinks are extremely acidic. If you want to drink them, make sure to follow it up with a swirl of fluoridated water in order to rinse away the acid, lower mouth acidity, and promote the remineralization of the tooth.
Eat the carbs in one go
Have your carbs as part of a meal instead of snacking on them throughout the day. This limits your mouth to carbohydrate exposure only during meal times.
Follow these tips and your smile will thank you!