As well as your general health being influenced by what you eat, so too is oral health. Foods high in fat and sugar not only contribute to your weight, they also play a major role in the development of tooth decay. When you eat or drink, especially products with sugar or starch, plaque produces acid which attacks teeth for around 20-30 minutes after eating.
It is not so much the amount of sugar and starch you eat, it is the frequency. For instance, if you continually snack and sip sweetened drinks throughout the day, you will expose your teeth and gums to decay causing acid production for prolonged periods.
Plaque is a sticky, clear film of bacteria that if not removed through daily brushing and flossing can cause an inflammation of your gums, which may cause them to bleed. This is known as gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis can proceed to gum disease and in extreme cases degenerative bone loss, which may require bone-grafting surgery or lead to tooth loss.
Saliva works to restore your mouth to a pH neutral state and protect tooth enamel. To limit your teeth’s exposure to acid, we recommend you refrain from or limit snacking between meals
If you feel like a snack, tooth friendly foods include nuts, raw vegetables such as carrot and celery sticks, cheese and fresh fruit in addition to fluoridated water and unsweetened tea. Chewing sugar free gum will stimulate saliva production after eating and help neutralise acid more rapidly.