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The Facts About Tooth Decay

Our teeth are an important part of our body. They allow us to eat all kinds of foods. Teeth are the first step in the food process. They bite, chew, and grind our food making it easier to digest.

Tooth decay destroys your teeth. Once they are destroyed there is nothing you can do but replace them with fakes. Read our dentist‘s blog post to find out the facts about tooth decay.

Tooth Decay

Causes of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is caused by plaque and food residue on the teeth. Cavities are a common sign of tooth decay. It’s is one of the world’s most common health problems, and can be especially common in kids and teens.

Symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • Foul breath
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while chewing
  • Discoloration in your teeth
  • Pain while drinking something hot, cold, or sugary
  • Cavities
  • Toothaches
  • Infections
  • Tooth loss


The location of your teeth can affect their vulnerability. Teeth in the back of your mouth are harder to floss and brush, this makes it harder to keep them clean. In addition, teeth in the back tend to be larger and have more grooves where food can get stuck.


Diet can affect tooth decay as well. If you eat or drink a lot of sugary or starchy foods, you are risking your teeth. Some of the worst foods for your teeth include:

  • Ice cream
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • Dried fruit
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Cereal
  • Chips


Frequent snacking can also increase your risk of tooth decay. By snacking more often, especially on sweet foods, you are providing an endless source of energy to the bacteria that is eating your teeth.

Dental Hygiene

Lack of good dental hygiene is the most common cause of tooth decay. Forgetting to floss or brush your teeth will cause tooth decay. Inadequate or improper brushing and flossing will cause tooth decay.

Fluoride and Saliva

A lack of fluoride can weaken your teeth and make them more vulnerable to tooth decay. A lack of saliva can also be a problem. Saliva helps your mouth naturally rinse away food particles. With less saliva your teeth won’t rinse as well.

Heartburn and Health Problems

Heartburn and acid reflux can cause tooth decay since the acid can eat away at enamel and your teeth. Eating disorders and vomiting will also weaken your teeth and can cause tooth decay.

Preventing Tooth Decay

There are many different ways to prevent tooth decay. The three main categories are dental hygiene, dental visits, and diet.

Dental Hygiene

One of the most important preventive techniques is dental hygiene. It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Some dentists recommend that you brush after eating a meal.

Using fluoride rinse is another important step. Especially if you can’t brush in the middle of the day, you can rinse your mouth after meals with fluoride.

Flossing, especially in the evening, is very important. You do not want food sitting in your mouth all night feeding bacteria.

Your dentist can also recommend dental sealants that can protect your teeth like enamel.


Diet can affect the health of your teeth. The following foods are some of the best for Oral Health. Eating more of these foods will help to strengthen your teeth and make them more resilient against tooth decay.


Dairy is low in sugar and high in calcium. Teeth need calcium so the more you have the better.

Crunchy Veggies

Crunchy vegetables have a two-fold advantage. They have lots of vitamins and minerals. The fiber in crunchy vegetables helps clean your teeth as you eat them. These are some great crunchy vegetables:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Fennel
  • Jicama
  • Peas and Beans
  • Radishes
  • Water Chestnuts

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, like crunchy vegetables, have lots of vitamins. Dark leafy greens have calcium. Here’s some leafy greens recommendations to try:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Microgreens
  • Collard greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Watercress
  • Arugula
  • Swiss Chard
  • Bok Choy
  • Turnip Greens

Apples and Pears

Apples, pears, and other fruits with a lot of fiber are full of vitamins. The high fiber content helps clean your teeth, similar to crunchy vegetables.


Nuts provide protein, calcium, and phosphorus. They also have fiber, varying vitamins and minerals. If you are a snacker these are perfect because they can help clean your teeth. Salted and roasted are better than sugared nuts.


Meat and fish are full of protein and minerals. The chewing involved in eating your meat also stimulates saliva which helps rinse your teeth as you eat.

Vitamin C and Polyphenols

Fruits and foods with vitamin c, polyphenols, and antioxidants help support and repair gum damage and tooth decay.

Fruits with Vitamin C, Polyphenols, and Antioxidants include:

  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Chili peppers
  • Guavas
  • Black Currants
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwis
  • Lemons
  • Lychees
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Etc.

Broccoli, cauliflower, and romanesco are all natural teeth cleaners. These three crunchy vegetables are full of fiber and have natural brush-like parts.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions both have allicin which has antimicrobial properties. In other words, eating garlic and onion helps you fight tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Foods to Avoid

Not only is it important to eat certain foods, it is also important to avoid or limit certain foods. Here are the foods that can be most damaging to your teeth:

  • Candy
  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Dried fruit
  • Large amounts of citrus and acidic foods

Young Girl Brushing Teeth

Dental Visits

Dental visits, just like doctor visits, are a key important part of keeping your teeth healthy. You should visit your dentist at least once a year. It is recommended that you visit twice a year for optimal dental care.

Treating Tooth Decay

Dentists can treat dental decay with fluoride and dental cleaning. If cavities are forming, they can clean them and fill them. At worst, a dentist will need to remove your tooth and replace it with a fake tooth.

Schedule Your Next Exam with Our Dentist So We Can Check for Any Tooth Decay

The causes of tooth decay are fairly straightforward. Prevention is the most important step. Once your teeth have decayed to a certain level, you will have to have the tooth removed and replaced.

Our dentist can help you with recommendations and can guide you in your dental care.

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Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.