Cavity Control through Nutrition and Oral Hygiene
How do sugars attack your teeth?
Kids who consume sugary snacks eat many different kinds of sugar every day, including table sugar (sucrose) and corn sweeteners (fructose). Starchy snacks can also break down into sugars once they're in your mouth.
Invisible germs called bacteria live in your mouth all the time. Some of these bacteria form a sticky material called plaque on the surface of the teeth. When you put sugar in your mouth, the bacteria in the plaque gobble up the sweet stuff and turn it into acids. These acids are powerful enough to dissolve the hard enamel that covers your teeth. That's how cavities get started. If you don't eat much sugar, the bacteria can't produce as much of the acid that eats away enamel.
Pick a variety of foods from these groups:
Fresh fruits and raw vegetables as berries, oranges, grapefruit, melons, pineapple, pears, tangerines, broccoli, celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, canned fruits in natural juices. Grains as bread, plain bagels, unsweetened cereals, un-buttered popcorn, tortilla chips (baked, not fried), pretzels (low-salt), pasta, plain crackers, milk and dairy products, low or non-fat milk, low or non-fat yogurt, low or non-fat cheeses.Chicken, turkey, sliced meats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts. Pizza, tacos, popcorn
Frequent snacking on foods containing sugar increases a child's risk of getting cavities.
- Each time your child eats sugar, plaque in the mouth combines with sugar to produce acid.
- These acid attacks on the teeth over time can destroy the tooth structure.
- You need to eat a variety of foods: grains, milk and milk products, meat, vegetables, and fruits.
- Try to avoid establishing a "sweet tooth" by limiting foods high in sugar.
Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacks. Avoid carbohydrates such as candy, pretzels and chips, which can remain on the tooth surface. If sticky foods are eaten, brush your teeth soon afterwards. Check with your dentist about use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth. Ask your dentist about dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to protect them from decay. The evidence is strong enough to support the regular use of xylitol-sweetened gum as a way to prevent caries, and it can be promoted as a public-health preventive measure. Chewing xylitol-sweetened gum, especially for patients who like chewing gum. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and an oral exam.