Food and Oral Hygiene
For decades, sugar has been considered the only culprit for dental cavities.
So, we are usually asked, “If I stop having sugary foods, will the cavities stop?”
The answer would be NO!
Generally, sugar is one of the simpler forms of carbohydrates which is easily available to us. And the use of sugar for making delicious desserts has been in practice since ages. But it is not only the culprit for cavities. There are many others, sugar being the most notorious.
In the remaining part of the article, we will show you with examples how sugar(different forms) and other carbohydrates cause dental cavities and how we can prevent them.
Sugar in the dissolved state
We are taking an example of drinking tea with sugar, as the sugar here is in a dissolved state. Sugar becomes more dangerous in the dissolved state as it can travel and stick to all the surfaces of teeth and mouth. This becomes a potential treatment as the bacteria can use any fluid to travel to all corners of the tooth and mouth, consume the sugar and cause cavities.
Sugar as sticky food
Bakery products are also most potential threats for teeth and general health. Here sugar is in sticky form along with simple flour (Maida). These products (cake, chocolate, cookies, toffee) stick to the tooth surface and are present for a longer period of time, if not cleaned properly.
Other foods causing a cavity
Refined flour( Maida) Example Puffs, pastries, bread etc.
Rice with high starch content
Complex carbohydrates like Roti etc.
Other foods helping cavity formation indirectly
Soda- Sweetened or unsweetened – They increase demineralization of the tooth structure.
Sweetened Soda contains sugar and acts as a double-edged sword on the tooth surface.
The bright side
It has been noted that people with regular exercise and having unrefined (whole) food like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fresh dairy products (unsweetened), unprocessed non-vegetarian food, do not show a lot of caries/cavities for a long period of time.
From the dentist
Having sugar or sweet foods cannot be abolished completely, so moderation is the key.
That means for example if you have 5 cups of tea in an interval of 2 hours each. You are exposing the teeth to sugar 5 times, which increases the risk of cavities.
Having exposure to a large quantity of sugar once and cleaning your teeth is better than having a small quantity of sugar again and again.