Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth using leftover foods like sugar for energy. They create acid as a byproduct while they thrive, and the acid softens and weakens your tooth enamel, eventually causing cavities. Unfortunately, these bacteria also like carbohydrate-rich foods, including pasta, breads and cereals, and starchy veggies like potatoes.

However, you can reduce your risk of developing cavities with a bit of thought. One strategy is to make sure you don’t snack on these foods between meals. Every time you eat something sugary or starchy, your mouth becomes more acidic for at least half an hour afterwards, so if you love to snack, your teeth are exposed to harmful acids for longer, increasing the risk of cavities.

Instead, include any sugary or starchy foods as part of your main meal. Ideally, finish the meal with calcium-rich foods like cheese that help protect and strengthen your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss once a day. If you want to brush after a meal, wait at least half an hour so your mouth is less acidic and tooth enamel is harder.