Diet and lifestyle are the basis of optimal physical and mental health. But health with a capital “S” means taking care of a small vital organ that we sometimes tend to neglect: the mouth.

But what does food have to do with the condition of the oral cavity and, more importantly, with the development of tooth decay?

A lot, actually. And that’s what we’ll discover together in the following paragraphs.

The relationship between food and mouth

Right off the bat, you should know that the oral cavity is home to a vast microbiota. Some bacteria are healthy, while others are nastier. As soon as the pH of the mouth fluctuates, these populations change.

The imbalance can have various sources, but diet is the most common. That’s why it’s important to choose foods that don’t support the growth of bacteria that cause cavities and other oral diseases.

As a preventive measure, you should therefore focus on food that is neither too acidic nor too sweet.

Dairy products are less acidic

Milk and cheese, especially firm cheese, are basic anti-caries foods. For one thing, their richness in calcium, vitamin D and other minerals helps remineralize enamel. In addition, several reviews have concluded that milk is very low in caries, since lactose is not as acidic as other sugars, and overall has some caries defense potential. [1] The property transfers to its derivative products, such as cheese.

In short, the casein and lipids that these foods contain make them excellent protectors, especially consumed at the end of a meal.[2]

The same is true for fortified plant-based beverages with no added sugar and yogurt, especially those rich in probiotics. [3]

Flavonoids inhibit cariogenic bacteria

Flavonoids are known to have antibacterial properties. To this end, research has been conducted and shown that they can indeed block the growth of some cavity-causing bacteria.[4]

There are several types of flavonoids and they are found in various foods. However, green tea undeniably has the most benefits for oral and general health.[5]Apples, grape seeds, cranberries and even cocoa contain them.

Nuts and seeds

High in fat and protein, this food group is not cariogenic. It makes an excellent snack, accompanied by fruit, raw vegetables or cheese. They also contain a multitude of nutrients… good for your health. As long as you opt for the plain version!

Eat well to avoid tooth decay

To prevent oral pathologies, including cavities, diet should always be in the focus.

  • Stay away from pre-cooked meals and processed, high-temperature baked materials (pastries, soft bars, crackers, cookies, candy)
  • Read the ingredient list, make sure it is as short as possible
  • Avoid lists that contain sugar and derivatives
  • Products that stick to your teeth or are snackable should be consumed sparingly

Ideally, foods should be consumed in their purest form and in their natural state. Animal or vegetable proteins (poultry, fish, eggs, tofu), fruits, vegetables, homemade muffins made with whole wheat flour, water flavored with herbs, that’s what you should go for.