Dr. Harris, how does the food I eat affect my teeth?

Most of us know that sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay, but what you may not know is that snacking throughout the day may also be bad for your teeth. When you eat during the day and don’t brush your teeth, plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) combines with sugar from your food and produces acids that attack tooth enamel. We recommend choosing foods that are lower in sugar to reduce tooth decay and to keep you healthier in general.

According to the ADA, you can try these things to reduce your risk of tooth decay:

1. If you have sugary foods and drinks, have them with your meals because saliva increases when you eat and helps rinse food particles from your mouth.

2. Limit sugary drinks and snacks between meals

3. Chew sugarless gum that has the ADA seal. Chewing gum for 20 minutes after eating has been shown to reduce tooth decay.

4. Drink water, especially with fluoride.

5. Floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

6. See your dentist regularly.

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