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Dental Decay and Nutrition

The chief culprit to dental decay is sugar. The cycle begins with simple sugars (sucrose, fructose, corn syrup) entering the mouth. They are digested by our mouth's bacteria. These bacteria produce acids which erode healthy tooth enamel. The erosion (enamel softening) is commonly called decay.


Culprits of decay

  1. Beverages, Carbonated drinks (regular or diet), highly sweetened coffee or tea, energy drinks and even 100% fruit juices not only contain a high amount of sugar but are also very acidic and can break down the enamel matrix, leading to decay.

    Dental Decay  Dental Decay
    Dental decay from frequent sugary or acidic beverages


  2. Frequent exposure to carbohydrates or sticky foods which remain in chewing surfaces of teeth can aid in forming cavities on these surfaces.
    Dental Decay
    Decay in grooves of back teeth

Things you can do to stop the decay cycle

  1. Limit exposure to highly acidic beverages-Soft drinks are fine to drink as an occasional treat. However, the healthiest drink is water-either bottled water or straight from the tap.
  2. Monitor the amount of sugar intake. Most foods have labels. The amount of sugar, (also called sucrose, fructose, and corn syrup) is measured in grams. Five grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar. You will be surprised how many teaspoons of sugar are in our foods and drinks.
  3. After drinking highly acidic beverages rinse your mouth with water.
  4. Limit frequent snacking in between meals -it is far better to eat a balanced meal at three regular intervals throughout the day.
  5. Brush teeth after eating.
  6. Floss a minimum of one time daily to cleanse in between contact areas of teeth.

Dental decay is one of the many progressive diseases that can wreak havoc with our bodies. Diabetes and obesity are other progressive type diseases. One doesn't have a healthy tooth, a healthy weight or a controlled sugar balance on a Monday to find dental decay, an unhealthy weight, or a diabetes diagnosis three days later. The rate in which these progressive diseases cause our bodies to deteriorate depends in large part on how much we abuse our bodies in unhealthy ways. By responsibly managing what goes in our mouths - by choosing healthy foods and drinks - everyone can lead healthier lives.


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