Your daily diet has a significant influence on the life of your teeth. The main cause of tooth loss in Australian adults is gum disease (periodontitis); this is an infection that begins as plaque (bacteria) and develops into calculus (sometimes knows as tartar) before becoming gum disease.
A diet high in sugars and starch is the main contributing factor to gum disease. When sugar and starch come into contact with natural bacteria (plaque) in your mouth, it becomes acidic. This acid attacks the enamel of your teeth and soft tissue gums causing tooth decay and disease. This progression is slow, and often painless and unnoticeable. If caught in early stages it is reversible.
Many of our favourite foods are the biggest contributors; cakes, lollies, biscuits, chocolate, dried fruit and soft drinks. The sugars from these foods stick to the surface of your teeth and cannot be removed without proper brushing. Long exposure to these foods leads to more acid being produced.
Limiting the amount of these foods and having them only at meal times will help to reduce the levels of acid. Drinking and rinsing with water and chewing sugar-free gum will increase saliva production and therefore assist in neutralising the acid. Brushing and flossing after meals is still the best form of tooth decay and gum disease prevention.