What is tooth decay?

Caries damages your teeth and leads to fillings or even extractions. Decay occurs when sugar reacts with the bacteria in the plaque. The acids that attack the teeth and destroy the tooth enamel are formed in the process. After this has happened many times, the enamel can break off and form a hole or “cavity” in the dentin. The tooth can then deteriorate more quickly.

What foods can cause rot?

All sugars can cause rot. Sugar can come in many forms. Usually ingredients that end in “ose” are sugars, for example: sucrose, fructose and glucose are just three types. These sugars can damage all of your teeth.

Many processed foods contain sugar, and the higher it is in the ingredients list, the more sugar the product contains. When shopping for groceries, always read the list of ingredients on the labels.

As you read the labels, keep in mind that “no added sugar” does not necessarily mean that the product is sugar-free. It simply means that no extra sugar has been added. These products may contain sugars like those listed above, or the sugars may be listed as “carbohydrates”. Ask your dental team if you are not sure.

Can Eating and Drinking Cause Erosion?

Acidic foods and drinks can too Tooth erosion – the gradual dissolution of tooth enamel. The “pH values” of some foods and drinks are listed below. The lower the pH, the more acidic the product. Anything with a pH below 5.5 can cause erosion. ‘Alkalis’ have a high pH and neutralize the acidic effect of sugar. pH 7 is the mean value between acid and alkali.

  • Mineral water (still) pH 7.6

Can i eat snacks?

It is better for your teeth and overall health if you have 3 meals a day instead of 7-10 snacks. If you need a snack in between, choose foods that do not contain sugar. Fruit contains acids that can erode your teeth. However, this only harms your teeth if you eat unusually much. Try not to eat too much dried fruit as it is high in sugar.

If you have fruit as a snack, try eating something alkaline like cheese afterwards. Savory snacks are better, such as:

Can i eat sweets?

The most important point to remember is that it doesn’t matter how much sugar you eat or drink, but how often you do it. Sweet foods are allowed, but it is important to only have them with meals.

To reduce tooth decay, eat less sugary foods and drinks and try sugar-free varieties. Confectionery and chewing gum that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol can help reduce tooth decay.

Sugary foods can also cause a number of health problems, including heart disease and being overweight.

What should i drink

Still water and milk are good choices. Drinking fruit juices only with meals is better for your teeth. If you drink them between meals, try to dilute them with water.

Diluted sugar-free fruit drinks are the safest alternative to water and milk. When preparing these, make sure that the drink dilutes 1 part fruit drink to 10 parts water. Some soft drinks contain sweeteners that are not suitable for young children – check with your dental team if you are not sure.

Carbonated drinks can increase the risk of dental problems. The sugar can cause tooth decay, and the acid in regular and diet drinks can dissolve tooth enamel. The risk is higher if you have these drinks between meals.

Should I brush my teeth after every meal?

It is important that you brush with a toothpaste the last time at night and at least one more time a day. contains fluoride.

Eating and drinking sugary and acidic foods naturally weakens tooth enamel. Direct brushing can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. It is best to brush your teeth an hour after eating.

It is especially important to brush before bed. This is because the flow of saliva, which is the mouth’s cleansing system, slows down during the night, making the mouth more prone to tooth decay.

Children up to three years of age should use toothpaste with a fluoride content of at least 1000 ppm (parts per million). Three-year-olds to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350 ppm to 1500 ppm fluoride.

Why is a healthy diet important for my oral health?

Every time you eat or drink something sugary, your teeth are exposed to acid attack for up to an hour. This is because the sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque (the sticky plaque on your teeth) and produces harmful acids. Hence, it is important to only consume sugary foods or drinks with meals to limit the amount of time your mouth is at risk.

Acidic foods and drinks can be just as harmful. The acid “erodes” or dissolves the enamel, exposing the underlying dentin. This can make your teeth sensitive and unsightly.

A diet rich in vitamins and minerals as well as fresh fruit and vegetables can have a preventive effect Inflammation of the gums. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bad breath.

Does chewing gum help?

Chewing gum causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps to balance the acid in your mouth after you eat or drink. It has been proven that the use of sugar-free chewing gum after meals can prevent tooth decay. However, it is important to only use sugar-free chewing gum because regular chewing gum contains sugar and therefore can damage your teeth.


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Do you need further advice?

For free and impartial advice about your oral health, turn to ours Dental hotline by email or by phone on 01788 539780 (UK local rate).

Our Dental Helpline is completely confidential and has helped nearly 400,000 people since it opened over 20 years ago. Contact our experts by phone, email or online request, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


thanks to Wrigleywho kindly gave us a Educational grant for this information. Wrigley’s support not only allows us to develop and maintain this advice online, it means we can provide this vital resource as a printed leaflet for dental practices and hospitals to be given to patients and to be placed in waiting areas.