There are many risk factors associated with getting cavities. Cavities are caused by plaque forming on teeth, plaque attacking your tooth, and decay being caused as a result of the bacteria and acid from plaque forming a cavity. Anyone can get a cavity, but certain people are more susceptible. People with deep grooves in their teeth, not getting enough fluoride, inadequate brushing, the very young and very old, those with dry mouth, those with dental devices, those with worn out fillings, and those who have heartburn are more susceptible to cavities.
Cavities are also more common in those who sip beverages (other than water) and snack throughout the day and infants who are fed milk, formula, or juice before bed without brushing teeth afterward. If you struggle with cavities or are trying to make sure you do not get one, then there are certain foods and beverages that you should avoid. Here is a helpful guide below from our dentist in Oshawa to help you make smart dental health decisions.
Beverages that contain acid are well-known causes of tooth erosion. Enamel loss is measured as mg/cm2 over 14-day periods. Tap water causes -0.05 which is the best score for any beverage. Other beverages that score in the safe range are black tea and black coffee, with ratings of 0.35 and 0.34. Coca-cola, Pepsi Cola, Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Diet Coke all are between 2.78 and 3.31. These are not good or safe for your teeth but are not the worst choices. The worst beverages for enamel erosion are Sprite with a rating of 8.60, Arizona Iced Tea with a rating of 9.03, Mountain Dew with a rating of 14.31, Diet Mountain Dew with a rating of 14.82 (diet pop is always worse than its non-diet counterpart), and Red Bull which is the worst with a rating of 16.50.
If you are drinking anything outside of a “good” rating, you should at the very least rinse your mouth out with water. You should also severely limit your intake of anything with a very bad score (8.00 and higher).
Milk falls into a different category than all these other beverages because while it does have sugars in it that can cause cavities and plaque, its sugar is from lactose which is the least bad sugar for teeth. Milk also can help to remineralize teeth that have been stripped of enamel by sugars and acids. Infants who have milk before bed (formula, cow’s milk, or breast milk) need to have emerging teeth brushed or, instead, drink water before bed.
Lower carb foods are the best option for not causing cavities. Raw vegetables, cheese, nuts, all-natural nut butter, meats, and fats are safe snacking foods. Whole milk, crunchy fresh fruit (crunchy fruit can help clean teeth), whole grain bread, popcorn, smoothies, dark chocolate (70% or higher), yogurt (sugar-free is best), and oatmeal are usually safe and if you choose non-sugary options will often not cause cavities.
Snacks you want to avoid as much as possible are candies, soda, fruit juice (yes, even 100% fruit juice), cookies, chocolate milk, dried fried and fruit snacks or strips (these are especially dangerous as they can get stuck in your molars), dried flour cereals, pretzels, cracks, oranges, bananas, and sports drinks.
The great thing about a healthy dental diet is that it is an all-around way of eating healthy too. Cutting out processed sugars will protect your teeth and your overall health. No matter how well you care for your teeth, though, you still do need to come to visit us at KR Dental for your check-ups and cleanings. Our dental office offers a variety of services to help you have the brightest and healthiest smile possible.