Good Nutrition for Healthy Teeth

Learning how food affects your oral health is the first step towards cavity-free teeth.

Can a Poor Diet Affect My Teeth?

Like the rest of your body, your mouth depends on overall good nutrition to stay healthy. In fact, your mouth is highly sensitive to poor nutrition. It can lead to tooth loss, serious periodontal (gum) disease and bad breath.

How Do Foods Cause Cavities?

Changes begin in your mouth the minute you start to eat certain foods. Foods such as cookies, cakes, soft drinks and candy breakdown into simple sugars. Bacteria on your teeth form a biofilm that use the sugars from these foods and produce acids. The acids dissolve minerals inside the tooth enamel. The process is called demineralization.

Do Any Foods Help Prevent Cavities?

Some foods actually help to protect teeth from decay. These foods increase saliva flow and neutralize the acids produced by bacteria. This makes it less likely that the enamel will lose minerals. For example, aged cheese eaten immediately after other food helps to buffer the acid.

Chewing sugarless gums also can help protect your teeth against cavities. Most sugarless gums and sugarless candies increase the flow of saliva, which helps to protect your teeth against bacteria.

Glossary