Sugar is directly linked to tooth decay, which is the oral health disease you know as “cavities”. The more sugar you eat, the more that sugar can damage your teeth. However, it also depends on how often you eat sugar and how well you take care of your teeth. Other factors such as wearing braces, using fluoride, having dental sealants and your oral hygiene routine also make a difference. See how you can reduce your risk for cavities with these tips!
Sugar and Tooth Decay?
Eating a piece of candy or a sugary treat doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly get a cavity, but it can raise your risk for one. That’s because sugar is the food bacteria needs to decay your teeth. When you eat, your body breaks up food into smaller pieces for digestion. Small sugar particles from your food mix with mouth bacteria to make an acidic mixture called plaque.
Instead of getting swallowed, plaque’s sticky nature makes it stick to your teeth like glue. It is a transparent film that can build up over time, which is why your teeth will feel crusty or cruddy throughout the day if you don’t brush and floss. Because plaque is acidic, it sits on your teeth and tries to damage your hard tooth enamel. The minerals in your teeth can be broken apart by acids, which is what sugar and mouth bacteria becomes when they mix.
If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, plaque slowly breaks up your tooth minerals, weakening your teeth as it starts to decay them. That tooth decay is known as “cavities” and once a part of your tooth decays, you can’t get it back. That is why you want to brush and floss as much as you can and limit your sugar intake, as cavities all stem from the sugar you put in your mouth.
Can You Avoid Sugar and Cavities?
With Halloween on the horizon, it can be quite hard to avoid sugar. Children should have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, and no sugar if possible. Adults should have no more than 9. Candy is mostly pure sugar, which is concerning if you eat a ton of it.
The average child eats 3 cups—or 144 teaspoons of sugar—on Halloween alone. This amount of sugar can lead to tons of cavities in the following weeks. Instead of a candy binge, make sure no one eats candy until they arrive home. Set a rule for how much can be eaten and make sure teeth are brushed after every meal and especially before bedtime. Instead of eating all the candy in one day or a week, separate the candy for a specific amount each day that kids can earn. Limiting sugar intake and increasing oral hygiene can help everyone enjoy sugar during the holidays without all the tooth decay.
What You Can Do
Avoiding cavities is easy if you follow a few simple steps. Those include:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day—if not more—for two minutes at a time, as recommended by the American Dental Association. Cover all tooth surfaces, brushing in various directions.
- Floss your teeth afterwards, at least 1-2 times a day. Make sure you get up into the gumline, scraping along the teeth as you go to remove stuck-on plaque.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and products to strengthen your teeth.
- Limit your sugar intake. The less sugar you eat, the less plaque your mouth makes and the more you can avoid cavities.
- Get dental sealants (from a dentist) for your teeth, which are plastic painted-on coatings that can seal your tooth from harmful substances.
Do Braces Make a Difference?
When it comes to cavities, you are both preventing cavities and raising your risk for them with braces. Your braces can straighten your teeth, which reduces your risk in the long run for tooth decay. This is because crooked teeth are much harder to clean by brushing and flossing.
However, you can raise your risk for cavities if you don’t take meticulous care of your teeth with braces on. Brush and floss after every single meal if you have brackets and wires. Floss your teeth, even if it takes longer. Use threadable floss to achieve this. Use a waterpik device and a proxabrush to dislodge stuck food in brackets and wires. If you need to, come in for extra dental exams to see how your teeth are doing with braces on them.
How We Can Help You
Studies show that about 92% of people have cavities by the time they reach adulthood. You may have only had one in your lifetime if you are part of that 92%, or you may have already had many. It all depends on your teeth, your oral hygiene, sugar intake, chronic conditions that affect your mouth and more. When cavities do happen and they are caught early, they are quite easy to fix. We can spot the signs of a surface cavity when you come in for your comprehensive dental exams and dental cleanings.
For a dental cleaning, we thoroughly remove all plaque and stuck-on plaque (tartar) from your teeth. We check your gum pockets, polish your teeth, floss in between each tooth several times and provide you a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth. After your cleaning, you will have a dental exam, where Dr. Evanson can check for visible signs of surface cavities. Digital x-rays will show us if there are internal cavities in your teeth. If we find one or more, we will schedule an appointment right away to remove the cavity and fix your tooth like new. Keep up on these dental appointments to avoid major tooth decay. To schedule your exam and cleaning and to see if you have cavities, call Dr. Evanson’s office today at (720) 409-0008!Leave a reply →