Almost everyone has heard the phrase, “don’t eat too many sweets, or your teeth will rot out.” You may have even said it to your own children as an adult. However, there is more truth to this warning than many people realize. Although sugar is manageable in moderation, it can also have far-reaching health implications for people with sugar-rich diets.
How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
Several studies have proven that sugar has a direct connection to tooth decay. This is because harmful bacteria in our mouths “eat” sugar to survive. Bacteria can ferment sugar into an acid, which in turn causes infection and eventually tooth decay. After eating excessive amounts of sugar, these acids can attack our teeth for more than 20 minutes and create an ideal environment for the formation of cavities.
Repeated acid attacks caused by sugar can have serious consequences, especially if you don’t practice good oral hygiene. Plaque, the invisible, sticky film of bacteria on your teeth, can accumulate rapidly. Undisturbed, plaque can dissolve your teeth’ enamel, leading to cavities and even gum disease. In severe cases, gum disease may advance to periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications.
To control the amount of plaque on your teeth, brush at least twice per day and rinse your mouth with water after meals. It’s also best to floss as regularly as possible to ensure no plaque or food is stuck between your teeth – the most commonplace for cavities to form.
Tips for Healthier Eating
The American Dental Association has provided several tips to help reduce your risk of tooth decay from the foods you eat:
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brush twice per day, floss regularly, and visit a dentist twice per year for an oral exam and professional cleaning.
- Drink more water. Fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you prefer bottled water, check the fluoride content or consider visiting your dentist for a professional fluoride treatment.
- Eat sugary foods and drinks with meals. Your mouth naturally produces more saliva during meals to help to reduce the effect of acid production and rinse away food. Enjoy sweet treats and sugary drinks as part of a meal to mitigate any harmful effects.
- Limit snacking between meals. If you do have a snack, choose something nutritious with little to no sugar.
At Kip Dental, we are committed to educating our patients so they can reduce their risk of cavities and maintain a healthy smile. If you’re searching for a new dentist, contact us today for a new patient appointment.