By Dr. Laura Wellener DDS

It can be fairly well accepted that no one wants to have tooth pain.  So let’s discuss what can be done to prevent it.  Sometimes, there is no way to prevent a tooth problem.  Often though, there are ways we can prevent disease and protect our mouths while at the same time creating a healthier state.

What we choose to eat and drink plays a huge role in our oral health.  Fruits and vegetables, especially those high in Vitamins A and C such as apples, oranges and berries, can help to keep teeth and gums healthy.  Foods rich in Calcium, like cheese, can help protect tooth enamel.  Drinking plenty of fluoridated water is the best choice for liquids.  Water will help to rinse food, acid and bacteria from the teeth, and the fluoride component strengthens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay, or cavities.  Some studies have shown that chewing sugarfree gum containing Xylitol can fight tooth decay.

There is a long list of foods and drinks to avoid, and ones with high sugar content top the list.  Sugar, and really any fermentable carbohydrate, is a favorite of the bacteria that cause tooth decay.  It is best to avoid these as much as possible.  This doesn’t mean you can never have sweet treats.  When you do eat something sweet, it’s best to eat with a meal and drink plenty of water to help rinse the sugar away.  Beware of soda, sports drinks and many juices/smoothies—they’re often loaded with sugar.  And if you slowly sip your drink, you’re just bathing your teeth in a sweet, sugary mixture over a period of time.  This, of course, can increase the liklihood of getting a cavity.

Next time I’ll discuss the elements of a good dental routine that will keep your smile bright and mouth healthy!