Dental caries is primarily a dietary issue and is caused by plaque. Plaque is many layers of all different kinds of bacteria. These bacteria produce acid when they are exposed to sugar from your diet. Whilst the ideal situation is to ask patients to eliminate all sugar from their diet (shock horror!) the second best and more practical (patient friendly) solution is to educate our patients that it’s not how much of these sugary foods and drinks you have in your diet, its how often you consume them!
Sugary foods and drinks will do less damage if eaten at mealtimes when there is a lot of saliva to “buffer” the acid. The amount of sugar eaten is not as important as how often it is eaten. Frequent snacking is especially likely to make the mouth very acidic and cause more damage. Therefore “pigging out” on sugar snacks is better for teeth, from a decay point of view, rather than “grazing”! Try to finish a meal with something that is savoury ( ie cheese, milk, crackers) rather than sweet.
Acidic drinks (wine, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, sport drinks) are potentially very damaging…..Watch this space for our post on “Dental Erosion”