Cariogenicity of different foods?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 02, 2013 at 1:17 AM

Is there a database somewhere which shows the cariogenicity (contribution to cavities) of different foods? Is there a method to measure it myself somehow?

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3 Answers



on August 02, 2013
at 02:09 AM

Well dairy products and bones (hydroxyapatite) are going to be anticariogenic.

And sugar will be cariogenic.



on August 02, 2013
at 01:52 PM

According to Dr. Ellie "Kiss your dentist goodbye" author, cavities are caused by bad bacteria. In a mouth without bad bacteria, sugar won't actually cause cavities!


"Many people still believe that sugar is the cause of cavities - but it is in fact the acids that dissolve the tooth enamel and create the cavities. Acids can be directly from foods and drinks but also from "cavity forming" bacteria that release acids as they grow.

The problem is that the sugar gives energy to these "acid producing" bacteria on your teeth, allowing them to release more acids and damage your teeth."

me again: Of course, if you have ever shared a drink with someone, kissed someone, even your parents, or I presume, shared a meal with someone, you're going to be exposed to bad bacteria which can cause cavities.

According to this: http://askdrellie.blogspot.com/2010/08/ph-of-various-foods-list-question.html

the pH of the food doesn't necessarily change the pH of the saliva. If you have low saliva pH, it doesn't matter, you're going to get cavities.

Saliva pH is affected by hormones (she says pregnant women routinely have pH of 5.5), diet, and other factors like stress, Vitamin D, lack of minerals, probiotics, consumption of fish, so clearly paleo-living or lifestyle can help with those (proper sleep, good nutrition, lack of items chelating the minerals out, probiotic-consumption, fish consumption, etc.)

Anyway, in her book she mentions potatoes, broccoli, and bananas as creating a more basic/alkaline pH, and also calls for xylitol as dessert after a meal to change the pH of the mouth. So probably foods with xylitol naturally are good.


The site above says pineapple, carrots, apples, corn, carrots, and plums have good levels of xylitol.

Her book says that research shows 5-6 grams of xylitol per day is necessary, and she advises taking it in the form of mints.

I wonder if even a vegan could use her health program and have good tooth health? I would think perhaps for a while, but that eventually with hormone dysregulation/lack of proper minerals and vitamins in diet (zinc/copper balance, B12, B2 deficiencies being some of the big issues that come to mind), that perhaps they could stave it off for a while, as well as with "fasting" (i.e. not eating for about 12 hours from dinner until breakfast might be hard as a vegan, and making sure to brush with xylitol, and perhaps follow her other steps like a chlrohexidine rinse, a very dilute fluoride rinse, and use of xylitol after meals during the day)\

Anyway, just some interesting thoughts to consider - it really is all related - you can find foods which are more or less cariogenic, but your overall body/mind health must be good too, as Dr. Ellie says she has to watch her tooth health a lot because she is prone to stress. A good diet for mouth health is a traditional diet (weston a price - fermented foods, traditional dairy, broth, vegetables, fruit, etc.) or a paleo diet and paleo lifestyle - lots of good, deep sleep, some exercise, sun, etc..



on August 02, 2013
at 02:14 PM

Good answer, elf27. I would like to point out that you are correct that bacteria is the cause of plaque and cavities. All dentist should tell you that. What's more important is what FEEDS those bacteria and make them thrive. Very similar to our gut flora, unwelcome bacteria seem to thrive on sugars. The starches that we eat aren't probably broken down enough for the bacteria to digest, but our bodies break it down to sugar for the gut flora.

I read somewhere where a Dental professor at a college wanted to prove to his students that it was sugar that caused cavaties, so he drilled a hole in one of his teeth and consumed no sugar for some period of time and it did not progress into a cavity, proving his point. I wish I could find that article somewhere to reference it, but it was years ago I read it.

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