It is really no secret that eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
As such, you may want to keep this in mind after holidays such as Halloween, Easter, or Valentines Day, when kids are getting eating a lot of sugary candy.
But it’s actually not the sugar itself that does the damage. Instead, it’s the chain of events that follow.
Thus, it’s not only important for you to be aware of the battle taking place inside the mouth due to sugar – what sugar does to the teeth – but also how to mitigate any damage like cavities with preventative dental care, before it becomes worse.
How Cavities Develop
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says the mouth is full of bacteria. Yet, many of these bacteria are beneficial to the oral ecosystem. On the other hand, the harmful bacteria feed on the sugars you eat to later create acids that eat away tooth enamel. The enamel is the shiny outer layer that protects the teeth. Cavities are bacterial infections created by those acids. Cavities can move past the enamel and into the deeper layers of the tooth without proper treatment. Deep cavities can cause pain and possible tooth loss.
The Constant Battle
Your teeth are almost always under attack by acids. But there is an upside to this scenario too. This damage is constantly being reversed. When acids take away minerals that help repair the teeth, it’s called demineralization. The positive is that there is also a process called remineralization. This process replaces those minerals and strengthens teeth. However, there is only so much repair that can take place when you’re constantly eating sugars throughout the day. That’s why limiting sugar intake is key to helping your mouth win the battle.
Ways to Remineralize Tooth Enamel
Experts have offered several tips for preventing cavities. Limiting sugar intake is a great start, but there are further steps to take.
Stimulating saliva flow is recommended because saliva contains the minerals that bathe the teeth, repairing the enamel. Chewing sugar-free gum and eating fibrous vegetables and fruits are good ways to increase salivation. You can also incorporate cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products into your diet, which contain calcium and phosphates, to strengthen the teeth. These are also much better choices for snacks, instead of indulging in sugary treats.
Furthermore, incorporating green and black tea into your daily routine can also help your teeth. These teas have the ability to suppress harmful oral bacteria.
Last, but not least, fluoride is almost essential to a healthy smile. Fluoride not only prevents tooth decay, but also reverses it in early stages. Drink fluoridated water and use an ADA-approved toothpaste that cleans out sugar-dependent germs. It is also recommended that you get professional fluoride treatments from your dentist.
So, sugar isn’t the enemy, but it can definitely be a villain. If you consume sugar, you just need to balance against it. Limiting sugar intake, eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, snacking on dairy products, drinking green or black tea, visiting your dentist regularly, and receiving fluoride treatments gives you the best chance at winning the battle against tooth decay within your mouth.