Figure 8-1.Food guide pyramid.
PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY AND
It is known that bacteria in dental plaque uses the
nutrients in sugary type foods to produce acids.
(Dental plaque is discussed in chapter 5, Oral
Pathology, and in Dental Technician, Volume 2,
chapter 3, Preventive Dentistry.) Foods that contain
carbohydrates (high sugar content) are referred to as
being cariogenic (conducive to the production of
dental caries). Dental caries may start when poor oral
hygiene is present. The decay process begins when
dental plaque and the acid produced from cariogenic
foods are left on the teeth for extended periods.
Eventually, the acid demineralizes or breaks down
enamel and dentin.
To reduce the possibility of dental decay, you
should limit the ingestion of sweets to mealtime, and
brush and floss thoroughly after meals. Some of the
less cariogenic snack foods include fruits and
vegetables. However, the least cariogenic snack foods
are limited to skim milk, sugar free gum, sugarless soft
drinks, sugarless gelatins, and a few others. Ideally,
caries may be avoided by properly brushing and
flossing right after eating.