In your dental hygienist training, one of the first things you will learn about dental hygiene is that foods high in sugars and starches increase acid production, which eats away at tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. There are some hidden sources of starches many people are unaware of like in alcohol, and hidden sugars like in rice, which can be the cause of cavities. Sometimes problems are caused by eating too many of these foods constantly, but other times it is a lack of oral hygiene which allows these sugars and starches to eat away at your teeth.
If you hope to become a dental hygienist, you may be interested in studying the process of tooth decay. When plaque builds up from not brushing your teeth, it becomes difficult to remove without the dentist’s specialized tools and techniques. Dental plaque can cause an array of oral issues like gingivitis, which leads to inflammation of the gums. Inside dental plaque are bacteria, which ferment carbohydrates from food left in the teeth, producing acids which break down the tooth enamel.
Causes of Tooth Decay
- Eating sugary or starchy foods/drinks
- Restrictive diets
- Brushing teeth too soon after eating acidic foods
- Dry mouth a�� saliva helps coat the tooth and neutralize acids
- Not brushing and flossing everyday
You Are What You Eat
Tooth decay in teens and children can be a sign of future osteoporosis and diabetes. Our teeth and gums are made up mainly of calcium, so a diet rich in foods like yogurt and cheese are good for your oral health. Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables, is necessary to produce collagen, which keeps teeth held together. Potassium, also found in fruits and vegetables, is also very important for mineral density, and reduces calcium loss.
Any graduate from dental hygienist school will tell you that snacking, or rather improper snacking, can cause issues with dental hygiene. Many of the more popular snack foods like candy, chips and soda are all loaded with carbohydrates. Along with this, because you are not eating anything else to help break down the sugar, it sits on your teeth and begins creating plaque. Here are some examples of snacks which will help promote your oral health and not leave sugars in your mouth:
- Yogurt and grapes
- Carrots and hummus
- Hard boiled eggs