Diet and Decay

Plaque is a clear sticky film that accumulates on the surface and in the grooves of teeth and on your gums and is able to be removed by brushing and flossing regularly. If plaque is not removed, it becomes hard and called calculus (tartar) which brushing and flossing cannot eliminate. This can only be accomplished by one of our qualified hygienists using specially developed cleaning instruments.

When you eat and drink, especially foods with sugar and starch, the bacteria in your mouth reacts to the sugar and starch and causes acid, which eats away at your tooth enamel resulting in cavities.

It has long been known that foods high in sugar cause tooth decay, snacks such as cakes, doughnuts, lollies, biscuits and dried fruit are sticky, with a high sugar content and cling to the enamel of your teeth, the longer they remain there the longer your teeth are exposed to decay causing acid. Carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks too contain high levels of sugar and are the types of drinks you tend to sip on over a long period of time, further prolonging your teeth to the harmful effects of sugar.

Adopting a healthy diet, which incorporates the basic food groups, is high in fresh fruit and vegetables, while low in sugar and starch, as well as reducing or eliminating snacks between meals or substituting vegetable sticks and nuts over sweets, will significantly reduce the likelihood of developing tooth decay.

Your saliva contains natural antibacterial properties and is your body’s natural defence against mouth acid produced when eating and snacking. Snacking throughout the entire day on sweet foods, sipping on soft drinks, sweetened tea, coffee, or hot chocolate however, produces a constant acidic presence that your saliva cannot neutralise completely.

We suggest you eat sweet foods and snacks only at normal meal times to limit the amount of exposure your teeth receive to sugar producing acids as it is not the quantity of sugar that is the problem it is the frequency of snacking which causes the most harm.

Rinsing your mouth with water after eating if you are unable to brush your teeth is highly recommended, whilst chewing sugarless gum after eating or snacking on sugarless lollies will increase saliva flow and decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

Health orientated research page, including: links between heart disease and periodontal disease.

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