Sugar and Tooth Decay
There has been a belief for many years that sweets and sugars can rot your teeth. Christmas, Halloween and Easter candy has always been classified as villainous and doled out sparingly because of this belief.
The culprit, it turns out is not the sugar, but the amount of time it stays on your teeth. Acid causes the enamel to erode causing cavities. The sugar sitting on your teeth allows bacteria to feed on it creating this acid. After eating candy or sweets, rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth to help get the sugar off the teeth as soon as possible. Chewing gum, believe it or not, is another way to remove sugar from the teeth. Some sugar free brands are actually beneficial to your teeth. These sugar free brands have xylitol in them and that is a great cavity fighter! Even chewing gum with sugar in it will help get sugar from sweets off your teeth as it increases the saliva, washing the sugar away.
When it comes to soda, regular is better than diet. Phosphorous, which is in diet sodas and is acidic to the tooth damages protective enamel covering on your teeth. Remembering to brush your teeth or rinse with water after drinking soda helps eliminate acids and sugars remaining on the teeth.
Orthodontic devices and braces are treacherous obstacle courses to get around when eating sweets. The wires and other hardware cause sugar to get trapped and it can be difficult to get all the food particles off even if brushing occurs immediately after eating. Having food get trapped in braces and other orthodontics allows the sugar to sit on the tooth surface increasing the odds of acid damaging the enamel. When it comes to sweets, the stickier the substance, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky foods adhere better and are harder to remove. It’s important to warn our patients, especially those wearing orthodontics to avoid those sticky sweets like taffy and caramels.
Although eating a lot of sugar isn’t a good thing for your health, it’s not quite the villain it was made out to be in regards to tooth decay. Children and adults alike, rejoice! There is no reason why you can’t indulge in a sweet treat or two on occasion. Just remember to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out with water as soon as possible when you finish.