How does diet and dietary behaviour affect decay development?

As discussed previously, bacteria require sugar to produce acid, and an absent of sugar from our diet basically means an absent of decay. However, this is not practical in the world which we live in; as all food contains some form of sugar or carbohydrate. For example, bread, fruit, potato chips all carry a form of sugar (in the form of carbohydrate), as do the obvious such as soft drinks and sweets. It is therefore not practical to just concentrate on this when it comes to control of decay. We must look at the other important factor which is dietary frequency. To understand this, we must look at what happens in the mouth whenever  food or drink with sugary substrates are consumed. Again, whenever sugar is introduced into the mouth, bacteria uses this to produce acids. This acid attack starts to dissolve small amounts of tooth structure. Fortunately, our mouth produces saliva which helps in a big way by neutralising the acid attack. However, this whole neutralising process  requires time (up to 30-60 minutes) before the pH in the oral cavity is restored back to normal. This is a major reason why constant snacking is not recommended as it interferes and prevents saliva from carrying out it’s protective function. Frequent snacking basically introduces multiple episodes of acid attacks before saliva has had a chance to neutralise the acid and in effect turns the oral cavity into an “acid bath”. This has serious repercussions in that the outer enamel shell is constantly under acid attack and hence  prone to dental decay.