|Diet and nutrition play an integral part in oral health and the progression of tooth decay. The primary factors are the properties of food (liquid, dry and sticky, long lasting), frequency of consumption of sugar and starches, nutrient composition, sequence of food intake, and combination of foods.
The higher the sugar content in foods, the greater the risk for cavities.
The higher the starch content in food, the greater the chance for cavities.
Sticky or dry foods adhere to teeth and increase chance for cavities.
Although many people believe raisins are much healthier than chocolate, they can cause a higher incidence for tooth decay, due to their sticky properties and adherence to the tooth's surface for prolonged periods of time.
Cheese and other dairy products can be anti-cariogenic due to their buffering effect. They help neutralize the acids in our mouth, especially after the consumption of sweet foods.
Fruit juices contain sugar and water and are not better for your teeth than soda pop drinks. We recommend diluting fruit drinks with water for young children.
The amount of time food remains in the mouth, the greater the chance for decay.
The sequence that foods are eaten can determine the risk for cavities, i.e. , if you eat sugary foods during meals, the saliva production is increased neutralizing most of the acids. You decrease the chance for cavities, as opposed to just eating sugary foods alone.
Legumes, grains and nuts are flavanoids. Flavanoids are what give colors to fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They are also potent antioxidants. The way flavanoids aid the mouth is in their ability to reduce inflammation, prevent the release of histamine (which causes allergy symptoms), fight free radicals, increase one's immunity, strengthen blood vessels and increase blood flow to certain areas.