Dentists have long recognized an oral health connection to overall health. The body’s systems are interrelated and affect one another. Long-term dental problems impact the immune system and other metabolic functions. It is the view of the American Dental Association that infections often enter the body through the mouth.A long-term infection in the gum taxes…
What to Know About Cavities and Sugar
Cavities are holes that form on teeth surfaces. Also known as caries, they are caused by the acids in your mouth. Some of these acids are from sugars in the things you eat, while others are created by mouth bacteria.
How teeth become exposed to acids is not that important. What matters is getting these acids off teeth surfaces before they cause permanent damage to enamel. The bacteria that live in the mouth also form plaque and tartar. These two things speed up the decay process.
The relationship between cavities and sugar
Dentists often advise their patients to stay away from sugary foods, particularly if the person is vulnerable to tooth decay; sugar is the most dangerous substance teeth can be exposed to.
Sugar packs a double whammy when it comes to tooth decay. On its own, sugar is highly acidic in nature, and it wreaks havoc on teeth surfaces. There is also the fact that sugar has a sticky consistency. That means once sugar is smeared all over a person's teeth surfaces, it is harder to remove than other food items. Sugar can remain stuck on a person's teeth for over 24 hours. That is a lot of exposure to acid for a person's teeth to deal with.
There is also the fact that bacteria that live in the mouth absolutely love sugar. It is something they thrive on. Consuming sugary foods means the bacteria that live in a person's mouth get to eat as much as they want. When they are done, they excrete acids that damage teeth enamel.
Minimizing the risks of cavities caused by consuming sugar
Staying away from foods that contain sugar is one of the best things you can do for your oral health. Reduce a person's sugar intake and the odds of said person developing cavities are significantly lower. Of course, staying away from foods that contain sugar is a lot easier said than done. Even foods that one would not normally think of as being rich in sugar can have very high amounts. Bread is a good example.
2. Rinse often
The reality is that you are probably going to enjoy a sugary snack once in a while. The best way to minimize the damage done to your teeth by your treat is by rinsing your mouth with water afterward. This will help to wash some of the sugar away.
3. Use a fluoride-infused mouthwash
A mouthwash that contains fluoride can help to keep tooth decay at bay. Patients should use this after brushing, and they should not wash their mouth with water afterward. Spitting out the mouthwash is enough.
4. Visit a dentist twice a year
Regular visits to the dentist are the best way to keep tooth decay at bay. It gives the dentist an opportunity to detect cavities early on, the patient gets a cleaning and preventative treatments like dental sealants and fluoride treatments may be used.
When was your last checkup? Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today.
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