We know that a worm doesn’t eat our teeth, and that the acid produced by the bacteria in the mouth that feeds on carbohydrates decays them for about two centuries. What is necessary for a tooth to decay is the microorganism, any of the carbohydrates reduced to simple sugars, and enough time to dissolve the tooth. That means, without one of these three, our teeth won’t decay. Without bacteria, no matter what teeth won’t decay, without carbohydrate teeth won’t decay, and if the two do not remain together enough to release acid teeth won’t decay. It is not possible to reset these, but if we manage the triad of carbohydrates, time and bacteria correctly, we will get rid of tooth decay. If we consider carbohydrates, the nutrient source of the bacteria that decay our teeth, we can ask this question: How can we protect our oral health by nutrition regulation?
Foods that cause tooth decay
First of all, let’s talk about what carbohydrates are, which decay our teeth and also the energy source for our body. The most common carbohydrates are sucrose in white and brown sugar, fructose in fruits, fructose and glucose in honey and lactose in milk. All foods containing these substances contain simple sugars. In addition, starch contained in more complex sugar-containing foods such as potatoes, rice, bread, wheat flakes, raisins and cereals.
All these foods containing sugar and starch are immediately consumed by bacteria in the mouth and acid environment is formed. For example, biscuits, desserts and confectionery containing simple sugar, sweet drinks, chocolate, as well as foods such as potatoes, rice, macaroni, fruits, juices, barley, oats, bulgur, corn, chestnuts which include complex sugar joins the tooth decay process at different levels. Protein, calcium and phosphate found in milk neutralizes the acids in the mouth, despite the lactose contained in it, milk is tooth-friendly.
Coffee with sugar is the biggest enemy of teeth
According to researches, chocolate causes tooth decay in close proportions with apple and bread; coffee with sugar was found to cause more than the three. The sugar consumed between meals causes more decay than the foods eaten during the meal. The higher the frequency of eating, the higher the rate of decay. When the frequency of eating doubles, the rate of decay increases to six times.
Since the carbohydrate needs to come into contact with the teeth for a period of time, the stickiness of the carbohydrates also affects the formation of decay. Sticky foods in the hand are different from sticky foods in the mouth. For example, bread and raisins are more difficult to clean in the mouth than caramel and cake. In this respect, the chocolate is more rapidly discharged from the mouth than caramel as it contains soluble sugar. Bread, which appears to be less sticky, can be cleaned out of the mouth in a longer period. For example, an oatmeal canape can only be cleaned from the mouth in half in the first five minutes, while the caramel, chocolate wafer and cream cake are completely removed. In the first five minutes, only one quarter of the puff pastry was thawed, while milk chocolate, banana and apple were completely removed from the mouth in five minutes.
Substances in foods preventing the formation of caries
Some foods contain substances that prevent the formation of caries, such as tannin in chocolate, casein peptides in cheese, phytates in cereals, protein calcium and phosphorus in milk. These substances help by neutralizing acidity in the mouth, contributing to the repair process of the enamel surface, and affecting the reproductive process of bacteria. Some foods increase the saliva flow rate when consumed and help to mechanically clean the teeth with fibres. Although raw carrots and celery contain sugar, they are useful for teeth because they are fibrous and allow mechanical cleaning. Herbal teas that do not contain sugar, such as green tea, are also beneficial for oral health. Because of the protein in the cheese, finishing the meal with cheese helps the teeth in the caries mechanism. At the same time; vitamin c, parsley which is good for halitosis, cress, nuts, phosphorus in fish, yogurt, phosphate containing cheese, peanuts with a kind of protein they contain, abundant water consumption is beneficial for the teeth.
Nowadays, as well as general health, dental health is adversely affected as the habit of eating at home is gradually decreasing and lack of time leads to a shift towards food that can be found quickly. Nevertheless, we think that these nuances will work for people seeking healthy nutrition.
It doesn’t matter how much you eat, but how often you eat
To sum up, the relationship between food and caries is a bit more complicated than assumed. When we know the caries mechanism, we can prevent this process by managing it. We can stay healthy with a good and balanced diet. Much more food contain carbohydrates than it is thought. Tooth decay period and the decay inhibitor substances are important in the contribution of foods to the decay process. It’s not how much we eat, but how often we eat these foods that is important. It is necessary to avoid snacks all day long and allow the enamel repair process. If the frequency of eating and drinking is limited to six times and the teeth are self-repaired for two hours between meals, we allow mineralization of the enamel surface.
We will examine other factors such as our saliva structure and oral care which play a role in the caries mechanism in another article. Stay healthy and happy.