You’ve likely heard a list of things you shouldn’t do if you want healthy, cavity-free teeth: don’t chew on anything you aren’t supposed to eat, don’t forget to brush and floss after meals, and stay away from strong acids and sugary foods. While it’s obvious enough that sour, acidic drinks can eat away at your tooth enamel over time, what exactly does sugar have to do with the tooth decay?
Everybody Has To Eat
The thing about tooth decay is that the main culprit is a kind of bacteria that lives in your mouth. It produces a strong acid that eats through the calcium and other minerals that make up enamel and turns them into waste products, wearing your teeth down little by little as the years go by.
However, these bacteria don’t live on minerals alone. They need carbohydrates in order to survive, the same as most other living creatures on Earth, and the simpler the carbs are the better. The simplest of sugars are the ones that taste sweet, like fructose and sucrose. Thus, when you’re feeding your sweet tooth, it just so happens that you’re also feeding the bacteria that live on it.
Minimizing The Damage
Dentists everywhere agree that the best way to keep your teeth safe from enamel-eating bacteria is to simply avoid sugary foods and drinks, including every kind of soft drink and candy that doesn’t make use of sugar-free or low-sugar substitutes (and often not even then). Even natural products like fruit juices and honey can pose a danger to your teeth.
However, dentist everywhere also acknowledge that no matter what they say, people will eat sweet foods because they taste good and because our bodies are designed to enjoy all kinds of high-calorie foods, whether sweet, fatty, or both. As such, even if you aren’t going to swear off sweet treats for all time, there are a few things you can do which will help keep bacteria low.
- Brush and floss at least twice each day, preferably after every meal.
- Drink soft drinks through a straw to minimize the contact they have with your teeth.
- If you can’t brush, then at least clean your teeth with a toothpick and rinse your mouth with water after you eat a sweet snack.
Finally, you should always be sure to visit a dentist every six months in order to identify cavities early and keep your teeth in good condition.
Here at Community Dental Group, we offer everything from routine cleanings to fillings, braces, and even dental implants. If you live in the area of Thousand Oaks, California and you need to visit a dentist, consider looking us up. Walk-ins are welcome, and first-time visitors will receive a complimentary consultation on their dental health.