According to an article published by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar in a year, or three pounds or six cups of every week. This is a clear (and alarming) indication that we are now living in a sugar culture.
Dr. Farhat explains that too much sugar is not only bad for your waistline; it is also harmful to your teeth. Whenever you eat sugary foods and drink sweet beverages, some of the sugars linger on your teeth. Dental plaque bacteria combine with these sugars, producing plaque acids that attack the enamel. When the enamel continues to lose minerals, a hole or cavity eventually forms.
If this cavity is not treated immediately, it can progress deeper into the tooth which will cause pain when the damage hits your nerves. It can also lead to tooth loss.
Avoiding the Unhealthy Effects of Sugar on Your Teeth
To minimize the harmful effects of sugar on your teeth, here are five helpful tips to follow:
- Limit your sugar intake. If you want to reduce the chances of getting cavities, reduce your consumption of sugary foods and beverages. Some of the sweet foods you should avoid are candies (all types), dried fruits, cookies, cakes, muffins and other sugary and sticky snacks. Start limiting your consumption of sodas, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks as well.
- Eat foods and drink beverages that will remineralize your tooth enamel. Cheese, unsweetened yogurt, low-fat milk and other healthy sugar-free foods and drinks are rich in calcium and phosphates. When you consume more of these products, your saliva will use these nutrients to strengthen and remineralize your teeth. Green and black tea also contain substances that can suppress harmful bacteria in your mouth. As such, consider drinking more tea instead of coffee.
- Minimize snacking in between meals. Going a few hours without eating will give your saliva a chance to wash away the acid from your mouth. This will also help repair your teeth before your next meal. If you’re really hungry, eat some fresh crunchy vegetables and fruit such as broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, apples, and pears.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. Fluoride is a crucial mineral that prevents and even reverses tooth decay in its early stages. As such, when brushing, use fluoride toothpaste. Floss properly every day as well, preferably at night, to get rid of plaque, sugar and food debris or leftovers from your teeth.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with xylitol. Lastly, if you’re craving something really sweet, pop a xylitol gum or candy in your mouth. Eating xylitol frequently reduces the bacteria and acid in your mouth that damage your teeth.
Make sure you visit Dental One Care regularly as well. Routine checkups and dental cleanings can help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile even if you give in to your sweet cravings every now and then.