Irish dentists have been urged to examine whether their patients should write a 'diet diary'.
Jennifer Carmody, a Dublin-based dental nurse, points out that foods with added sugar, when ate frequently, pose the highest risk of tooth decay.
Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars from the foods we eat to acids, and it's the acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth.
"Dentists should identify high-risk patients and take a diet history," she said in the current edition of the 'Journal of the Irish Dental Association'.
Basic teeth and gum care tips include:
* Brush your teeth regularly. Brush at least twice a day and preferably after meals.
* Use a fluoride toothpaste.
* Floss at least once a day.
* Use a mouth rinse daily.
* Visit your dentist regularly.
* Eat a variety of foods to maintain overall health. Eat fewer foods containing sugars and starches between meals. If you must snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a firm fruit such as an apple.