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Tooth decay, especially in children ages 6 to 18 is on the rise despite the addition of fluoride to municipal water supplies over the past 50 years.

Proper nutrition is one of the main factors in decreasing tooth decay. Specifically, refined sugar and processed foods are the culprits in tooth decay. Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay. Avoidance prevents the proliferation of the bacteria that causes tooth decay in the first place. They are a fuel source for bacteria.

Secondly, a new threat to teeth are the so-called “energy drinks” such as Red Bull. These products are being consumed in huge quantities, especially by young adults. These drinks contain a lot of refined sugar coupled with citric acid (which serves as a preservative that enhances flavor and shelf life).

There is a lot of debate concerning the efficacy and side effects of fluoride, in water supplies, tooth paste, topical varnishes and tablets. But there is very little argument that what you eat and drink has a long lasting effect on dental health.

Substitute watery veggies and fruit like pears, melons, celery and cucumbers for chips and pretzels for snacks. But limit bananas and raisins which contain concentrated sugars. Substitute water or sugar free drinks for sodas or juice.

Lastly, visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning and exam. Start your children at age one.
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