After a proper home oral care, the next more important aspect of preventative dentistry is your diet.
We know that refined sugar causes tooth decay and that sugar (sucrose) helps plaque grow. The obvious way to maintain a good dental diet is to limit its intake. This is difficult, however, because so many of the processed foods we consume contain hidden amounts of sugar. Even if we were to cut down on the amount of candies, regular soft drinks, ice cream and pastries, could we avoid such food items such as white bread, peanut butter, cereals, mustard and ketchup – all of which contain refined sugar as an ingredient? Hardly. Fortunately, almost all processed foods now carry a list of ingredients, usually in order of quantity, and any product that lists sugar as the first or second ingredient probably has a good deal of it. Just read the labels. All sugar-containing food is not bad, however. Vegetables and fresh fruit contain natural sugar that does not as readily cause tooth decay. They also contain vitamins and minerals which contribute to a healthy balanced diet.
The following is a list of foods to include and a list of foods to avoid whenever possible. It is difficult to totally eliminate things we like to eat, but if you are conscious about what they can do to your teeth, you might make an extra effort to rinse of brush after consuming them.
This list could go on forever, but it gives you an idea of what is good for your teeth and what isn’t.
Although the danger of refined sugar is incontestable, there are areas of diet and nutrition and their relation to dental health that are still being researched. Overall, good nutrition is, of course, the foundation for good general health, including teeth. A well-balanced diet, too, may reduce cravings for a sugary (but short-lived) energy snack between meals.