10 Foods That Cause Cavities, And What You Should Eat Instead

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According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 90 percent of Americans have had cavities at some point in their lives. Even worse, almost 30 percent have untreated cavities. Tooth decay, or cavities, form when naturally occurring plaque produces acid that breaks down tooth enamel. That is, cavities are small, unnatural holes in teeth. Below introduces the top ten foods that cause cavities and provides healthy alternative.

Candy

Candy
Almost all candy is bad for the teeth because they are loaded with sugar. Hard candy is bad for teeth because they stay in the mouth and may directly cause damage to tooth enamel. Chewy candy is worse for the teeth because they will stick between the teeth for a long time. In addition to this, sour candies contain high amounts of citric, fumaric and malic acids, which are a triple threat to your teeth. Most dentists agree that sugar-free candy is an excellent alternative.

Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum
Similar to chewy candy, gum causes prolonged exposure to sugar, which result in cavities. However, studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after a meal is an excellent way to remove and neutralize the acids created by plaque bacteria. In fact, xylitol, a sugar substitute, has been found to actually prevent tooth decay. This is because xylitol stunts the growth of streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria which cause cavities.

Crackers

Crackers
Crackers may appear innocent and healthy, but they are in fact nothing more than refined carbs that will quickly transform to cavity-forming bacteria. In addition to this, cracker particles often get stuck between teeth. Consider buying healthy crackers with whole grains and rinse your mouth out after eating them.

Cooked Starches

Cooked Starches
Cooked starches, such as pasta, bread and even potato chips are full of starch that quickly convert to acid producing bacteria that wear your teeth away. Always choose low-carb pasta and avoid white flour based starch products. Yogurt will give you plenty of protein instead of starches.

Fast Food

Fast Food
Hamburgers and pizza both contain dangerous amounts of simple carbohydrates and starches that simply need saliva in order to be converted to sugar acid. If you must eat at a fast food restaurant, consider ordering a salad or a sandwich.

Cookies and Cakes

Cookies and Cakes
Not many people can resist these delicious snacks, especially during holidays or special occasions. However, they are loaded with sugar and carbs. Always choose low-sugar sweets and if possible, there are great alternatives, such as popcorn, nuts and rice snacks.

Citric Fruits

Citric Fruits
While oranges are a delicious treat and lemons are a wonderful flavor, their high levels of acid will contribute to tooth enamel decay. Avoid eating these fruits alone and be sure to drink some water afterwards. However, avoid immediately brushing your teeth because this will rub the acidic into your teeth even deeper. There are also great alternatives, such as apples and bananas.

Pickles

Pickles
While essential for a hamburger or hot dog, this traditional American snack is not tooth friendly. This is because the vinegar based acid used during the pickling process directly attacks tooth enamel. Avoid directly snacking on pickles and instead, consume them with other foods to negate the effects of the acid. Edamame beans, dried fruits and even grapes are excellent alternatives.

Soft Drinks

Soft Drinks
Over consumption of soft drinks have been directly linked to a variety of health issues, including obesity and cavities. It is no wonder that New York City legislators tried to ban soft drinks larger than 16 oz. in 2014. Carbonated drinks have high amounts of acid that directly attack tooth enamel. Instead of soda pop, try low-sugar juice, tea or even just plain water. If you must drink soft drinks, always use a straw so the liquid will bypass your teeth.

Wine

Wine
Anything that will permanently stain your carpet will also stain your teeth. Both red and white wines contain erosive acids which destroy enamel. In addition to this, wine also contains chromogens and tannins, which cause discoloring and stickiness. Drink wine moderately and if possible, consider trying alternative alcoholic beverages.
There are many foods that will cause cavities, but there are healthy alternatives. One of the best things you can do is visit the dentist regularly. A good family dentist can detect cavities before they cause major problems. Taking care of cavities early is important for your oral health. Besides eating healthy and brushing daily, going to a dentist can offer great protection for your teeth.

This article is for educative purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.