Sugar, not so sweet for your teeth
Sugar, “so sweet”, but not so innocent. It lurks in many of the foods and drinks consumed regularly by most of the population and is strongly contributing to a decline in dental health. As children and teenagers, we’re lured in by the bright colours and associations with fun events, and for many the allure carries on into adulthood, becoming part of our regular diet. We use sugary foods and drinks as snacks, rewards, to quench our thirst, for parties/celebrations and movie or travel companions. Even when we think we’re making healthier choices, such as opting for juice or even sports drinks over soft drink, sugar is still ever-present.
The sugar you consume is used by the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that erode away the surface (enamel) of your teeth. Most high sugar drinks are also high in acid already, further adding to the damage being caused. With continued loss of enamel, cavities may begin to form and over time the inner layers of the tooth become exposed leading to pain and sensitivity. Every time you consume more sugar, the acid damage repeats and develops further. So, sipping on that sugary drink throughout the day is much worse than drinking it in one go because of the constant exposure to sugar and acids.
Have you been told you have a cavity?
Here’s what you can do to prevent more decay:
- Eat sugary foods in moderation, if at all.
- Don’t buy soft drinks with added sugar! There are plenty of healthy alternatives these days.
- Use a straw. This reduces the chance your teeth get coated with sugar and acid in what you drink.
- Have a drink of water after having anything with sugar―foods and drinks―preferably fluoridated water.
- Don’t sip over a long time! If you are eating or drinking sugary or acidic drinks, just do it, and avoid a long exposure.
- The same goes with sucking on lollies over a long period: it’s better to eat the whole bag of jelly-beans all at once. Not good for your waist but better for your teeth, believe or or not
- Never consume sugary or acidic foods or drinks just before going to bed.
- Avoid brushing your teeth within an hour of consuming sugary or acidic things―the acid and sugar makes your tooth enamel soft and you can literally brush it away.
- Help to protect your teeth by using a fluoride containing toothpaste.
Along with the above measures, your dental wellbeing will benefit from regular check-ups. Patrick, Magdalena and Miree here at Moss Vale Dental will be able to detect problems and provide necessary treatment and advice to prevent any further damage. Call our practice today on (02) 4869 3111 and schedule an appointment. We’ll help to sweeten your smile, sugar-free!