WHAT and HOW OFTEN you eat are the most important factors of your diet that put you at risk for tooth decay. Each time you eat, the bacteria in your mouth begin fermenting or metabolizing the foods into sugars and acids that take minerals from the teeth leading to decay. The more frequently you eat or snack, the more your teeth are being “attacked” by the acids produced.
The BEST foods for our teeth are those that contain calcium and phosphorus, minerals that help remineralize teeth after being removed by acids, such as milk, cheeses, nuts, and chicken/meats. Vegetables and certain fruits (apples, fruits) contain a lot of water and stimulate saliva flow which help to buffer the acids in foods and produced by bacteria. Citrus fruits or other acidic foods, such as tomatoes and lemons should be limited during larger meals to help balance the acidic nature of these foods.
The WORST foods are those that contain large amounts of sugar, are sticky, or high in carbohydrate content which can be broken down into sugar in the mouth, including candy, cakes, breads, muffins, chips, pretzels, bananas, dried fruits, etc.
*The best beverage choices include water (especially fluoridated water), milk, and unsweetened tea. Limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, lemonade, and coffee or tea with added sugar. Also, avoid day-long sipping of sugar-containing drinks — day-long sipping exposes your teeth to constant sugar and, in turn, constant decay-causing acids.