Certain eating patterns and food choices can lead to tooth erosion (ee-ROW-shun) and cavities. A steady supply of sugary foods and drinks, including sports drinks, sodas and energy drinks, can damage your teeth. Even snacking on healthy foods like oranges and dried fruit all day long can increase your risk of erosion and cavities. Here’s why:
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. When you do not remove plaque from your teeth every day, it builds up. The bacteria in plaque create acid from eating the sugars found in what you eat and drink. This acid attacks enamel (e-NAM-uhl), the hard surface of the tooth. The acid stays on the enamel for up to 20 minutes after you are finished eating and drinking. Eventually, the enamel can wear away from these acids and cavities can start to form. Cavities do not go away on their own and must be treated by a dentist.
When you have sugary foods or drinks many times a day or over a long time, it exposes the enamel of your teeth to acid attacks throughout the day. This raises your risk of tooth erosion and getting cavities.