Battling a toothache can be a stressful, painful experience. One of the main causes of toothaches is tooth decay, which is caused by cavities.
A smart choice is to eat teeth-friendly foods that contain the best nutrients to fight cavities and prevent plaque build-up.
When a tooth is often exposed to acid, the enamel loses most of its minerals, making it weaker. Eating and drinking foods that contain a lot of sugar and starch results in the loss of minerals and over time, leads to tooth decay. The chances of tooth decay and cavities lessen when you eat fruits and vegetables high in fibre and water like apples, golden apples, carrots or sugarcane. These foods stimulate saliva flow, creating a natural defence to cavities. Dairy products like milk, cheese or plain yoghurt provide needed calcium, phosphates and Vitamin D for healthy teeth. If you are allergic to or just don’t like the taste of milk, try calcium-fortified juices or plant-based milks like soy or almond, that can supply enough of the needed calcium in your diet.
If you are a fan of chewing gum, switch to sugar-free gum after meals or snacks. It will help wash harmful acids off your teeth. Don’t opt for chewing gum that contains sugar because it may increase your chance of developing cavities. Lessen on sweets like candies, cookies or soda, and save sugary foods and drinks for special occasions. The longer sugar stays in your mouth, the more damage it does because bacteria in the mouth convert sugar to acid, which eats away at tooth enamel.
Alcohol is also harmful to your oral health because it is acidic and can erode the teeth. Alcohol also makes your mouth dry and reduces saliva production. Saliva is important because it helps remove plaque and bacterial buildup on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water between drinks can help.
Practicing proper oral care by regular brushing and flossing and eating teeth-friendly foods will protect your mouth from tooth decay and oral conditions like gingivitis. Your mouth is the gateway to your health, so it needs to be well kept.
A note on preventing baby bottle tooth decay
This condition occurs when a baby’s teeth are frequently in contact with sugars from juices, milk, formula, sugar water or other sweet drinks and foods. Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscessed tooth, which may lead to infections that can spread to other parts of the body. If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and make it difficult to chew and eat. These tips will help prevent baby bottle tooth decay:
- Don’t give your baby a bottle filled with sugary drinks or sweetened milk as a means of comfort. If the baby is over 6 months, give plain water instead.
- Never dip your baby’s pacifier in sugar, honey or any sugary liquid.
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with sugary drinks. Remember that watered-down fruit juice or milk still increases the risk of decay. It’s safer to give a small amount of plain water.
- If your baby is nursing at night, remove your breast from your baby’s mouth when they fall asleep.
- Use a wet cloth or gauze to wipe your baby’s teeth and gums after each feeding, to remove any bacteria-forming plaque and sugar that may build up on the teeth and gums.
- Don’t add sugar to your baby’s food. Remember that sugar should not be given to children under the age of 2.