We are always told that sugar is bad for our teeth, but why? What’s the big deal? We also know that sugar causes tooth decay, but how? Let’s explore how sugar affects our teeth and the reasons to limit sugar in our daily diet.
How Sugar Causes Tooth Decay
Surprisingly, it is not sugar itself that causes tooth decay. Bacteria love the sweet stuff as much as we do. Bacteria in our mouths actually feed on sugar. When bacteria feed on sugar, the waste product is acid. This acid gradually eats away at the enamel on our teeth causing decay, or cavities.
Who Is At Risk?
Everyone is at risk for tooth decay. Obviously those with diets high in sugar are at an increased risk. Individuals who snack between mealtimes or consume sugary beverages are also at an increased risk for tooth decay.
Ways to Reduce Risk
- Decrease sweets-This one is obvious but still so true!
- Eat sweets immediately following meals instead of in between mealtimes-During mealtime we have an increase in salivary flow to help chew and swallow our food. Choosing to have something sweet during this time when saliva flow is greater allows those sugary particles to be naturally rinsed away more than when having something sweet on its own.
- Decrease snacking-Constantly introducing simple carbohydrates into our mouth allows more opportunity for those carbs to stick to our teeth, resulting in decay.
- Decrease soda intake
- Limit sports drinks
Keeping up with regular dental hygiene appointments allows us to help you clean your teeth, thus reducing your chance of decay. Allowing us to update dental x-rays as needed helps us diagnose problems as early as possible, reducing the amount and cost of treatment needed. By taking the above precautions and seeing us at Adams and Cheek Dentistry on a regular basis, we can work together to limit your incidence of tooth decay. Please call us at 919.866.1360 or click here to schedule an appointment.