Damage to tooth enamel
According to the 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey, even though cavities are largely preventable, 96 percent of adults have them. Dr. Alastair Nicoll, a dentist in Elkford, B.C., says they are a result of bacteria metabolizing sugar into acid and dissolving the tooth structure. Here are the top foods to avoid:
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s refined white sugar, brown sugar or honey, sugar is sugar,” says Nicoll. “It’s not the amount, but how often you eat it.” Sugar creates an acidic environment in your mouth, which persists for about two hours after it’s consumed. If you eat or drink a little bit of sugar every few hours, your teeth will be continuously bathed in the acid, which directly dissolves tooth enamel.
And watch out for high amounts of sugar found in many processed foods, including ketchup and spaghetti sauces. Be aware that juices that have no added sugar still contain natural sugar.
The fix: If you are eating foods with lots of sugar, it’s better to consume them during meals rather than as snacks because your mouth produces more saliva during meals, which helps neutralize acid production.Twenty minutes after eating is the ideal time to brush your teeth. That’s because, by that time, saliva has remineralized the enamel that has been dissolved by acid.
Raisins, dried fruit
These are high in sugar. Plus, they can get stuck between teeth and stay there for hours, causing decay.
The fix: If you are having raisins or dried fruit and can’t brush immediately, floss, or rinse your mouth with water.