Diet plays an important role in tooth development, tooth strength and in management and prevention of diseases of oral cavity. The type of foods and beverages consumed and the frequency of consumption has a direct effect on the oral pH and microbial activity, which may promote dental decay.

Some of the cariogenic foods include fermentable carbohydrates such as juices, sodas, chocolates, candies, cakes, desserts, pretzels, cookies and fruits. Fruits that are sweet but have high moisture content are less cariogenic (e.g., watermelon) than others such as banana and dried fruits.

Saliva plays an important role as it is supersaturated with calcium and phosphorus and salivary flow clears food from around the teeth and doesn’t allow the foods to stick there. Chewing promotes the production of saliva and may account for reduced cariogenicity. One way to increase the salivary flow is to chew ‘sugar-free gum’ for 15-20 minutes after meals and snacks.

Another way to maintain optimum oral pH is to combine protein with carbohydrates in snacks such as tuna and crackers or apples and cheese. Also it is very important to limit the consumption of acidic foods such as sodas, juices and sports drink. These drinks may not be very high in sugar but they are acidic by nature and therefore cause a drop in the pH

Also people should keep in mind basic guidelines for prevention and management of dental caries such as brush at least twice daily preferably after meals, rinse mouth after meals and snacks, floss twice daily, use fluoridated toothpastes and limit between meal eating and drinking of fermentable carbohydrates.

 

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