Cavity Prevention and Diet, Part 2

Good choices

 Cavity Prevention and Diet, Part 2

Most of my patients have some degree of education on the subject of what they should be eating. I talk about diet every day. Most people were taught to eat lots of whole grains, drink juices and avoid fats like the plague. Just look at the food pyramid we all grew up with. What is the biggest chunk? Cereal, bread, oatmeal. What is at the very top, the stuff you should avoid? Cheese, meat, and butter. The trouble is, the food pyramid is all wrong. New research shows that cholesterol and saturated fat may not be the horrible boogie man we were all told they were. We need to all focus our diet on eating less of the items at the bottom of the pyramid and shift our attention to the top. Instead of snacking on chips, crackers, goldfish and other “dry carbohydrates,” try switching to higher fat options like nuts or cheese. Nuts and cheese have virtually no impact on the bacteria that cause cavities. If you do choose to eat things at the bottom of the pyramid, try to pick things that are not sticky. An apple is crispy, for the most part it doesn’t get stuck in and around your teeth. A cracker (once chewed) is sticky. It lingers in the grooves of the teeth to be feasted on by bacteria for hours and hours.

Choose carbohydrates with higher fat content. Milk is the best example. Always choose whole milk over skim milk. Skim milk has no fat to help buffer the acids that cause tooth decay. Avoid low fat foods they are terrible for your teeth and often have more sugar to make them taste good.

I will cover more on cavity prevention related to diet next week, as this is the second in a series of blog posts related to diet and oral health.