The ADA blames the frequent consumption of sugary food and drinks as the most common cause of tooth decay with incorrect cleaning running a close second. The process of tooth decay begins each time you eat, when the bacteria in your mouth convert sugars in food into acids which immediately begin to errode the enamel on the tooths surface eventually causing holes or cavities to form.
Patients are often surprised to learn that lollies are not the only foods responsible for tooth decay. As part of the digestive process, bacteria create acid from any food that contains sugar or from carbohydrates such as pasta, potato chips, fruit, snack bars, soft drinks, pop corn, dried fruit, most breakfast cereals, peanut butter and sports drinks to name a few. Whilst these foods cannot be cut out entirely they are best eaten in moderation and avoided as snack foods between meals.
The most effective way to prevent tooth decay is to be aware of what you are eating and drinking, keep consumption of high sugar and acid food and drinks to a minimum and avoid them totally between meals. If you do snack between meals, choose either fruit (up to two pieces/ day), vegetables, cheese, yoghurt or milk. Drinking or rinsing with fluoridated water reduces the effect of acids and chewing sugar-free gum after meals also stimulates saliva which neutralises decay causing acids.
If you would like to know more about how to avoid tooth decay and tooth friendly food and drinks click here.