The cells of the mouth have some of the fastest turnover rates in the body. This is because oral cells have to grow quickly enough to aid the immune system, to keep nearby organs free of bacteria. Good nutrition also supports the immune system, and the body’s ability to control oral bacteria so they can digest or begin the digestion process without damaging gum, teeth, or tissue. Food that remains in our mouth too long causes bacteria to grow, causing decay in teeth and gums. All carbohydrates break down into simple sugars: glucose, fructose, maltose, and lactose. However, it is the fermentable carbohydrates that break down in the mouth. Food that has fermentable carbohydrates, sugar or starch used by oral bacteria to produce acid, causes decay in teeth. This happens when oral bacteria, a lover of sugary foods and highly-refined carbohydrates, feeds on simple sugars. The end product is acidic waste and bio-film, referred to as dental plaque, a juxtaposition of the bacteria and the acid. This acid demineralizes the enamel of teeth, insulates plaque, and irritates gum tissue.
Saliva is an important agent against cavities, as it flushes away some sugars and buffers the acidity in the mouth. It contains antibacterial compounds and enzymes (Amylase) which start the digestion process. These enzymes break down food in between teeth. Saliva has butters that keep the mouth’s pH level slightly alkaline (having a pH greater than 7). Without the pH being slightly alkaline, the early stage of digestion that occurs in the mouth would harbor many tooth-eating bacteria. Nevertheless, the consistency of saliva impacts its effectiveness. Thinner saliva breaks away food and washes it away quickly while thick saliva produces more acid-producing bacteria. Thick saliva is usually present in people who eat diets high in carbohydrates and/or sugars. Amylase is the only digestive enzyme that converts starch into sugar and varies according to diet. In this way, Americans have more of this enzyme in their saliva because of their diet, which is mostly composed of starchy foods. The amount of time that food is stuck to our teeth equates to the amount of acid production. Longer interaction time produces more acid. The acid reaction, or the process of the bacteria digesting the sugars, lasts anywhere between 20-30 minutes. For this reason, an individual should brush their teeth 30-45 minutes after they consumed something. Lemons, oranges, and grapefruits strip away the enamel with their acidity. Antioxidants also cause tooth erosion, but not as much as citric juices.
Apples have 22g of carbohydrates in each medium sized fruit, oranges have 19g of carbohydrates, pears have 26g of carbohydrates, and bananas have 51g of carbohydrates in each fruit. Navel oranges have 14g of sugar in each fruit and contain citric acids, Fuji apples contain 17g of sugar, pears contain 16g of sugar, and bananas contain 28g of sugar.
Fruits contain different amounts of natural...