Food that we eat is classified as follows on the basis of its cariogenicity activity:
Cariogenic foods: These are foods that contain fermentable carbohydrates, which in contact with micro-organisms in the mouth can cause a drop in salivary pH to 5.5 or less and stimulate caries process. Examples are foods rich in simple carbohydrates.
NOTE: When the pH of saliva falls below 5.5 dental caries occur easily.
Cariostatic foods: Foods that do not contribute to decay are the ones, which are not metabolized by micro-organisms in plaque and therefore does not cause drop in salivary pH to 5.5. Examples of cariostatic foods are protein foods (eggs, fish, meat, and poultry), sugar less gums, fats, etc. They decrease the cariogenic potential of carbohydrates by forming a protective layer over the surface of teeth.
Anticariogenic foods: Anti-cariogenic foods are those that prevent plaque from recognizing a cariogenic food. Example includes Xylitol gums, cheese such as aged Cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese, etc.