These are the most important dietary factors affecting the cavity rate:
Frequency of snacking
Duration of each snack
Quality of food
Neutralization of the negative effect of snaking with Xylitol gum or mint is essential. The recommended dose is two pieces of xylitol containing gum or mints after consuming fermentable carbohydrates.
Cariogenic foods (food that promote cavities) are food that contain carbohydrates fermentable by salivary amylase in decreased salivary pH, creating acids which melt the teeth resulting in cavities. These carbohydrates can be found in healthy food groups, such as grains, fruits, dairy, as well as products with added sugars. Several factors affect the cariogenicity of foods such as the frequency of fermentable-carb consumption; food form (solid vs. liquid); sequence of eating; combinations of foods and nutrient composition.
Cariostatic foods do not contribute to decay. These include proteins, most vegetables, fats and sugarless gum. Non-carbohydrate sweeteners (saccharin, cyclamate and aspartame) are cariostatic.
Anticariogenic foods (food that prevent cavities) are food that prevent plaque from recognizing an acidogenic food when consumed first. Xylitol cannot be metabolized by bacteria and is thought to have two mechanisms of action that protect the enamel, first an antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus mutans, and second a salivary stimulation from chewing xylitol-containing gum can increases the clearance of fermentable carbs from the tooth surface. The recommended dose is two pieces of xylitol-containing gum after consuming fermentable carbohydrates. There is some evidence that xylitol can also produce a remineralizing effect.