At Revelstoke Dental Centre in Revelstoke, BC, we educate our patients on the benefits of a healthy diet and plaque control techniques to maintain a healthy smile.
Proper diet and plaque control will help preserve your teeth for life. Not only is your nutrition important to your general health, it is also important to your dental health. If you do not eat a balanced diet, you are more likely to get tooth decay and gum disease.
When you eat, food passes through your mouth. Here it meets the germs or bacteria, that live in your mouth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria. Tooth decay can be thought of as a progressive bacterial infection of the enamel, then the underlying dentin and finally the pulp. Plaque forms within a 24 hour period. Sugar (any fermentable carbohydrate) is the food the bacteria needs to live and grow. When you don't clean your teeth after eating, plaque bacteria use the sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of the tooth, called enamel.
After a while, tooth decay occurs. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs. It is this decay that ultimately destroys the tooth and supporting bone around the tooth. The disease process is progressive in nature. Initial stages of cavity formation (enamel demineralization) can appear with in 72 hours.
The early stages of tooth decay can be arrested with fluoride treatment and complete daily plaque removal.
The intermediate and late stages of decay need intervention to remove the damaged tooth structure and repair the damaged areas.
The easiest and best treatment is prevention. Proper diet is a major component in preventing the initial damage to the tooth but also in preventing recurrent damage to the tooth and the restored areas of the tooth. Every time a tooth is damaged and needs new reparative procedures, there is less tooth structure remaining to work with.
Choose Foods Wisely
The key to choosing foods wisely is not to avoid these foods, but to think before you eat. Not only what you eat but when you eat makes a big difference in your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. To get a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods. Choose foods from each of the five major food groups:
Limit the number of snacks that you eat. Each time you eat food that contains sugars or starches, the teeth are attacked by acids for 20 minutes or more.
If you do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, or a piece of fruit. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm.
More saliva is released during a meal, which helps wash foods from the mouth and helps lessen the effects of acids. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Visit your dentist regularly.
Your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur while they are easy to treat.