A dental cavity (or tooth decay) is the destruction of the top layer of teeth, which happens to be the enamel. Cavities can be caused by several factors: poor dental hygiene or frequent consumption of sugars and carbohydrates. A layer of sticky bacterial film, or plaque, forms frequently on teeth. When the bacteria in the plaque stay on the teeth for a long time, they start secreting acids that weaken the teeth. Proper brushing and flossing, along with routine 6-month dental visits (for a check-up and a dental cleaning) can help prevent cavities and avoid dental emergencies. There are also some foods that can protect teeth against cavities.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in chewing gum. Besides tasting great, gum with xylitol can be helpful in 2 ways. It has antimicrobial properties against the bacteria that cause cavities and stimulates saliva flow to prevent plaque from forming frequently. Try chewing some xylitol gum after eating sugars or carbohydrates. Even ordinary sugarless gum will fight cavities by increasing salivation which helps clean the surfaces of your tooth enamel.
Studies have shown that eating cheese at the end of a meal can also lower chances of cavities. Acids found in many foods break down tooth enamel. Cheeses have a basic pH that buffers against the acids formed by bacteria, stimulates saliva, and has high calcium, phosphorus and casein that can help strengthen the enamel layer of teeth.
Black and Green Tea
Drinking tea without milk or sugar can help slow down the bacteria causing cavities. Polyphenol antioxidants, also found in red wine, are responsible for protecting against decay.
Flavanoids are helpful antimicrobials found in high concentrations in cranberries, but also in blueberries and strawberries. The flavanoids help stop the bacteria from sticking to the surface of the teeth.
by Dr. Eva Chen DMD.
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