Does the food you eat affect your teeth? How do cavities form? Should I chew sugarless gum after eating? All of these questions have to do with acid erosion, and will be addressed in this blog post. Read on!
Acids in your mouth are the main cause of cavity formation. This may surprise some people, as many of us associate limiting sugars with cavity prevention. In actuality, we need to limit sugars AND acids. Here’s why:
There is a multitude of bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria eat the sugars left in your mouth after eating. These include added sugars as well as natural sugars found in starchy foods and fruit. The bacteria then create an acidic byproduct, which gets on your teeth and erodes the enamel down until a hole is formed. That hole is called a cavity.
Acids from foods and beverages can also cause enamel erosion. You should avoid acidic drinks such as sports and energy drinks, as they are full of both sugars and acids. Plain water is usually best for teeth.
Right after eating, your enamel is slightly softened because of the acids in your food. During this time the enamel is very sensitive to abrasion. Therefore, it is best not to brush immediately after eating (unless directed to by your dentist). Instead, chew on sugarless gum to stimulate the salivary glands to create more saliva, which cleans your teeth and neutralizes acids, preparing your teeth for brushing.
For more information, call Calavera Hills Dental in Oceanside, California, at 760-842-5876. Dr. Christopher Layton and our team are happy to help!