Carbohydrate and Dental Caries
Carbohydrate is considered as important component of a healthy nutritious food. Carbohydrate provides energy to our body. Processed or refined carbohydrates are sugars and white flours that lack essential nutrients. Complex carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, and brown rich that supply necessary fiber requirement and maintain healthy blood glucose levels. According to many research studies the dental decay increases as the intake of processed and refined carbohydrate increases.
In simple term, dental caries means the tooth decay or cavity in tooth due to bacterial infection that causes destruction of the hard tissues of the teeth or enamel. Factors that cause dental caries are absence of fluoride or excess of fluoride in water, hypofunction of salivary gland, and poor oral hygiene. Hence it has been reported that there is significant association between the processed carbohydrates (like sugars) and dental caries.
How dental caries occur?
The primary factor involved in dental caries is frequency of sugar intake. Sugary foods or liquids like sodas, juices, etc are made of simple sugar like fructose. Intake of these sugary food products increase the opportunities for bacteria to feed and produce acid. Dental caries begin when the pH of dental plague falls below 5.5.
Sodas and dental caries
Early childhood caries among children and young teenagers are very commonly seen mainly due to consumption of soda, juices, energy drinks and sport drinks. One can of soda (coke) contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and acid. Diet soda and energy drinks includes both citric acid and phosphoric acid which cause direct demineralization of the tooth. Manufacturers are looking into way around this by increasing the pH of beverages or adding calcium. These steps can dramatically reduce the tooth erosion.
Dietary recommendation for oral hygiene
In order to reduce the destructive influence of processed carbohydrates, specific foods and diet is recommended.
- Consuming dairy products keeps the saliva rich in calcium and phosphorus, starts the remineralization and prevent pH of mouth falling below 5.5.
- Consuming fats and protein in a meal help to coat the surface to protect it from simple sugars.
- Intake of fluoride in both water and food will help to remineralize the tooth enamel.
- Crunchy and fibrous food increases the salivary flow and offers antibacterial properties.
- Offering healthy food and limiting fast food in children help to reduce the early childhood caries.
- Educate teenagers about the negative effects of energy drinks, soda, and sugary liquids on the teeth enamel add bone health. Encourage them to instead consume low fat milk and original fruit juices.
- Rinse your mouth by water bypassing the teeth with straw
Overall nutrition status affects the body's immunity. Good nutrition protect our teeth by increasing resistant to periodontal infection and minimize its severity, in contrast malnutrition can reduce the resistant to periodontal infection. All essential nutrients are necessary to synthesis the oral tissues and structures, keep them healthy and enhance the immunity.
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