Bacteria naturally occur inside the human mouth. When they come in contact with sugar and processed simple starchy foods, they grow out of control in the mouth and "poop" acid there dissolving tooth enamel and causing cavities. Teeth are either protected or attacked mostly by what is put in the mouth.
Anything that is sticky and stays on the teeth longer allows the bacteria more time to multiply within the plaque formed. Meal times are a little different in that more saliva is produced then which helps rinse away the sugars and guard against enamel-eating particles and acids.
Protect teeth by avoiding:
- chewing on hard, frozen ice cubes which can crack or chip teeth and irritate soft tissue inside the teeth
- bedtime bottles for babies, whether juice, milk, or formula, and creating the habit of falling asleep with a bottle in the mouth that coats new forming teeth with sugar overnight
- tongue and lip piercings that crack teeth when the metal stud is bitten on, cause tooth loss from gum damage as metal rubs against the gums and act as a bacteria haven increasing infections in the mouth
- starchy foods like potato chips, saltine and Goldfish crackers, and white bread. Saltine crackers are worse than candy for the teeth because they contain genetically engineered ingredients, contain a fermentable highly processed starch that increases the glycemic index and makes food more cariogenic. Avoid foods made with white refined flour.
- acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes unless followed by drinking water eats tooth enamel
- smoking which stains teeth, causes them to fall out due to gum disease, and causes cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue
- grinding teeth, also known as bruxism, usually caused by stress and sleeping habits. Dentists will later identify this issue by worn down teeth, but jaw pain can be an early symptom. A dentist may prescribe a mouthguard to be worn at night to protect the teeth. Jaw alignment surgery is sometimes necessary.
- sucking sugary cough drops, throat lozenges or hard candy that coat the teeth with plaque where bacteria thrives.
- chewing gummy candies and dried fruits which stick worse than other candy in the teeth resulting in longer sugar and acid contact on the enamel. Eat them if you must with a meal and avoid snacking on them.
- opening bottles and packaging with the teeth which can chip and crack them. Teeth are for eating only. Scissors and bottle openers are for opening bottles and plastic.
- soft drinks which contain phosphoric and citric acids and sugar. Diet soft drinks contain more acids.
- drinking sports drinks frequently which usually have a high sugar content. Drink sugar-free water instead to stay hydrated when working out.
- drinking fruit juice with added sugar, sometimes as much sugar content per serving as soft drinks. Fruit juices do contain vitamins and antioxidants so reduce the sugar by diluting with plain or carbonated water.
- drinking alcohol which decreases saliva production, makes teeth more porous and likely to stain, corrodes gum tissue and causes mouth and throat cancer. This includes red and white wines whose acids weaken enamel. Red wine also contains deep pigment called chromogen and tannins that help the color stick to teeth. Rinse the mouth with water after drinking wine.
- drinking coffee and tea which not only stain the teeth but make them stickier, especially if the fluids contain added sugar and cream. However, green and black tea contain polyphenols that have cavity-fighting properties and suppress plaque causing bacteria. Drinking these teas during or after meals helps tooth enamel, but still may stain the teeth.
- constantly snacking especially with processed sugary or starchy foods. Eat carrots or celery if you cannot wait until a next meal.
- chewing on pens and pencils can crack and chip teeth. Substitute sugarless gum containing xylitol which populates the mouth with the right good to bad bacteria ratio, generates saliva production and aids digestion and oral health.
- binge eating, which involves heavy sugar intake, and purging (bulimia nervosa) where vomited stomach acids weaken and erode teeth and also cause bad breath. Seek help from a physician.
- participating in sports without wearing a mouthguard can result in chipped, cracked, broken and lost teeth.
- taking medications which facilitate dry mouth inhibit saliva production needed to remove small food particles from the mouth and prevent them from sticking to the teeth. Ask the physician for a different medicine. Increase water intake if the medication is health critical.
An important tip in the video is why is is necessary to wait 30 minutes to an hour after eating before brushing the teeth.