Many years of research have established that dietary factors are directly related to dental caries and erosion. Significant risk factors for these abnormalities include fat and sugar intake in both children and adults. In fact, not only does childhood sugar intake contribute to the development of caries, but the development of pediatric caries in children aged 5 years and younger is significantly associated with maternal weight and intake of sugar and fat by expectant mothers during pregnancy. Dietary habits and the risk of caries in children may also be confounded by maternal educational level.
Caries also occurs in adults, and its incidence appears to increase with age. In fact, incidence rates are similar to those observed in children. Numerous studies in Europe (Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, France) and in the United states suggest that the dietary factors in children may be as important as they are in adults. In a recent study, severe tooth loss in older adults was found to be a key indicator of a compromised dietary quality.Evidence also shows that sport drinks may be increasing the incidence of dental erosion, which can precede caries in both child and adult athletes.
Specific dietary elements and related factors that have demonstrated significant potential for causing caries include the following:
Foods and dietary habits that should be recommended because of their minimal risk of caries potential or their caries risk reduction include the following:
Numerous foods have alleged anticaries activity. These include foods with added xylitol or fluoride, green tea, apple, red grape seeds, red wine, nutmeg, ajowan caraway, coffee, barley coffee, chicory, mushroom, cranberry, glycyrrhiza root, ethanolic extract of Myrtus communis, garlic aqueous extract, cocoa extracts, and propolis.The extent to which these various anticaries foods or ingredients have been studied is limited, but some evidence does suggest an effect on the development of caries.
Antonenko et al evaluated the association between oral health and calcium (Ca) and vitamin D nutritional status. The results of this study showed evidence of an association between high cariogenic risk and great severity of oral disease in the studied group of young women and low Ca intake. The authors suggest that an adequate nutritional status of Ca and vitamin D could be an additional factor that may help preserve a good oral health
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