The food that we eat – its quality, consistency and frequency of meals, have a great impact on the state of our teeth. Our teeth are protected by dental enamel, which is susceptible to damage caused by low pH in the mouth, which occurs right after consuming carious foods, particularly carbohydrates that remain on the surface of the enamel for a long time. Carbohydrates are the most significant compounds in the development of dental caries. They are the basis of bacterial metabolism. Carbohydrates break down into acids, which demineralize the enamel.
The diet of pregnant women and babies is of no small importance for the correct development and mineralization of teeth.
Mother’s milk, which is the main source of nutrition for the baby, isn’t particularly cariogenic, despite the fact that it contains the disaccharidelactose. It also contains calcium and phosphates, which inhibit demineralization of tooth enamel, as well as casein, which covers the surface of teeth and slows down the carious process.
Also important is vitamin D intake, which promotes the correct development of tooth enamel. Proteins support the development of salivary glands, which are responsible for the release of appropriate amounts of saliva.
Here are a few examples of foods that help prevent dental caries:
- hard cheese (e.g. Camembert) stimulates saliva production, which increases the concentration of calcium in dental plaque and protects tooth enamel due to casein content,
- groats, leguminous plants, vegetables, nuts– they inhibit the development of bacteria that are responsible for caries,
- chewing gum, preferably containing sorbitol, xylitol or fluorides, chewed within 10 minutes after a meal,
- low-calorie sweeteners – they have low cariogenic potential, as they are not converted into acids by oral bacteria.
Some foods are highly sticky and cling to tooth surfaces, which makes them more cariogenic than other foods. They include chewy candies (like toffee) and crisps.
With our patient’s health in mind, and appreciating the role of diet in tooth and periodontium disease prevention, we provide our patients with comprehensive information about both beneficial and harmful nutritional habits.