When you eat, food passes through your mouth. Here it meets the germs, or bacteria, that live in your mouth. You may have heard your dentist talk about plaque (pronounced ("PLAK"). Plaque is a sticky invisible layer bacteria that loves to eat the sugars and starches found in many foods. When you don`t clean your teeth after eating, plaque bacteria use the sugar and starch to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of your tooth, called enamel. After a while, tooth decay occurs. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the greater the potential for decay to occur.
To keep your teeth healthy for a long time, brush and floss daily, and eat these kinds of foods: fruits and vegetables; breads and cereals; milk, cheese, cottage cheese, and meat, fish and eggs.
Starchy foods like breads, crackers, pasta and such snacks as pretzels and potato chips are bad for your teeth. Here are some other foods, some of which may be healthy, but can lead to cavities as you get older:
- Dried fruits
- Chocolate milk
- Ice cream
- Fruit Rollups
- Milk shakes
- Granola bars
- Gummy bears
- Chocolate bars
Some dentists believe that kids who consume too much soda and not enough juice and milk get more cavities and other serious tooth problems as they get older. Drinking fizzy soda pop actually breaks down the white covering of your teeth called "enamel."
Always remember to rinse your mouths with water after meals, especially during school, in order to leave your teeth free of sugar and acid.