Why Are Sweets No Treat For Your Teeth

By now, we all know that too much sugar can wreak havoc on your oral health, but do you know how?  Sugar alone isn’t the culprit, but the sequence of events that happens after eating it causes the damage.  There is a constant struggle taking place in your mouth after indulging in sugary foods, so let’s examine what happens and what you can do to keep tooth decay at bay.

What happens?

Your mouth is chock full of hundreds of bacteria.  Several of which are helpful to the balance of your oral health.  However, some of them feed on the sugar you eat to create destructive acids.  These acids develop bacterial infections called cavities, which can travel past the protective enamel layer and cause pain or if left untreated, tooth loss.

Who is at risk?

Children and adolescents have the highest risk, but everyone is susceptible.  In the brief span of 20 minutes after you begin eating, tooth decay can start if not adequately removed.  Regularly consuming sugar puts you at a higher risk of developing decay, especially when the foods are sticky and eaten between meals.

What can you do?

Being aware of the amount of sugar consumption is the first step.  On average, we take in considerably more than we should or need in our diets.  The recommendation is 5% of our daily intake, which on average, for children aged 4-6 is 19g; aged 5-11 is 24g and no more than 30g per day for an adult.  Beyond good dental health, these suggestions lend to better health overall.

To reduce instances of decay, you should consider the following:

  • Limit sugary foods, especially sticky ones
  • Consume fewer sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Reduce snacking to lessen the production of acids in the mouth
  • Replace sugary snacks with whole fruits which do not harm teeth
  • Rinse with water after consuming sugar containing foods or beverages
  • Brush teeth carefully twice per day with fluoride toothpaste and floss

Of course, maintaining regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist are of the utmost importance.  Contact us with any questions, concerns, or to schedule your next appointment today!