Do you have any recommendations for diets? What’s the best diet for teeth?
Dr. Jackson: The biggest concerns with diets usually rotates around the amount of sugar in the diet. For overall health, not just our oral health, you should make sure you don’t have excess amounts of sugar. For your oral health, the biggest thing is the amount of time that teeth are in contact with sugars. It’s not necessarily the quantity, although the quantity does affect our overall health. We want to make sure that we keep low sugar levels or low frequency of sugars within the diet.
Bacteria and Sugars
The only bacteria that cause cavities eat sugars and refined sugars. You should keep those at a minimum amount of times that are in contact with your teeth during the day. For our overall health, focus on a good healthy diet with lots of whole fruits and vegetables to keep our mouths nice and happy, healthy.
So, is there a difference between refined sugar and natural sugars?
There is not in terms of the way that they affect bacteria. So a lot of times, people will say is, “Well, my children drink 100% fruit juice.” The bacteria that cause decay don’t care if it’s 100% fruit juice or if it’s 100% cane sugar, it still has the same effect the bacteria that cause decay.
Does anything cause decay other than bacteria?
No, the only thing that causes decay is bacteria, but there are things that we can do to raise or lower those numbers of bacteria. The biggest thing that raises those numbers of bacteria is refined sugars, and the biggest thing that lowers those are good oral hygiene habits. If you are taking in sugar, make sure to brush your teeth as quickly as possible, floss, and do a good rinse with water after.