From an early age, we’ve been told to moderate sugar and sweets. We all love a sweet treat from time to time, but the effects of sugar on the teeth can be quite damaging. Sugar is found in all sorts of food and drinks, from candy and chocolate to soda and juice. Of course, having sugar occasionally is alright with proper oral care, but we must be careful with how much sugar our teeth are exposed to. In addition to brushing and flossing on a regular basis, professional teeth cleaning and dental exams are necessary to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
The Effects of Sugar
Constant exposure of sugar to the teeth often causes cavities and tooth decay. While some bacteria are essential in overall oral health, some harmful bacteria feed on the sugar you eat or drink, creating enamel-destroying acids that lead to cavities. Enamel works to protect your teeth, but as sugars create acids to break down your tooth enamel; your teeth become vulnerable to cavities.
Naturally, our mouths remineralize using saliva and fluoride to reverse the damage we do to our teeth. Unfortunately, saliva and fluoride can only do so much to prevent damage from sugar. The more sugar we ingest, the harder it is for our mouths to remineralize and protect our teeth. That’s why the moderation of sugar intake is key in preventing cavities and tooth decay..
As we mentioned earlier, the bacteria that feed on sugar create acids that work to damage our enamel. Generally, daily brushing and flossing can’t remove tarter and tooth decay often doesn’t hurt, which is why regular teeth cleanings and exams from your dentist are so important.
How You Can Help Your Teeth
Aside from keeping your teeth clean by brushing, flossing, and reducing your intake of sugar, there are a few ways you can keep your teeth protected and remineralized. As mentioned, saliva promotes oral health as it contains calcium and phosphates that naturally protect and repair your teeth. You can increase the flow of saliva in your mouth by chewing sugar-free gum. Xytitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that can prevent tooth decay. Look for Xytitol in your sugar-free mints and gum. Also, many dairy products contain calcium to protect your teeth similar to the way saliva does.
Fluoride is also an aid in preserving your teeth and preventing tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water and using toothpaste that contains fluoride are great ways to keep your mouth healthy, clean, and free of harmful bacteria.