How can I make better food choices to prevent tooth decay?

Decay is caused by the bacteria in your mouth called plaque and sugars. The plaque digests the sugars and produce acid. The acid eats into your tooth causing a cavity. The longer the tooth is exposed to sugar in your mouth the greater the risk of tooth decay. Try to choose a diet low in sugars and brush immediately after eating. Sticky candies, sour candies, and soft drinks are the worst. Choose fruits and vegetables for snacks.
Avoid refined sugars, juices with added sugars, sodas. Xylitol is a great natural sugar that the bacteria in your mouth can’t break down. You can chew gum with xylitol to stimulate saliva flow for cleansing and help keep the pH in your mouth balanced. Fruits and vegetables are good -- especially apples are healthy for cleansing the mouth as well.
To prevent tooth decay, avoid foods that are heavy in sugar and refined carbohydrates. These include sodas, candy bars, cakes, cookies and pastries. Fruit and vegetable juices like orange and carrot juice are often high in sugar and can contribute to tooth decay.

In general, aim for a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins. And limit between-meal snacks.
Both diet and oral hygiene impact the rate of tooth decay. Foods most likely to promote cavities are sticky candy and fruits like raisins. Certain beverages can also damage teeth like soda (both regular and diet) and some sports drinks. Certain foods can have a positive effect on oral health like apples, yogurt, and cheese.

To prevent tooth decay, brush after every meal and before going to bed with a fluoride containing toothpaste. See your dentist regularly for examinations and professional cleanings.
One way to prevent tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease is by eating a balanced diet and limiting the number of between-meal snacks. If you need a snack, choose nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese or a piece of fruit. Also, visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.