It’s no secret that sugar isn’t good for our health. When it comes to our teeth, it’s difficult to protect them from sugar on a daily basis. Natural sugars are present in fruit and dairy products, and while they provide some necessary nutrients, it’s best to limit them to some degree. Added sugars, usually found in soft drinks, cereals, bread, chocolate, and even alcohol, don’t provide essential nutrients, just unwanted calories. When consumed in excess, sugar can lead to weight gain, weaken the immune system, and cause anxiety.
Sugar is also a main cause of tooth decay, which is characterized by damage to the hard outer enamel layer of the tooth. Most of the damage is caused by the acids produced by bacteria in the plaque that use sugars for energy. The acid penetrates the tooth surface, dissolving minerals like calcium and fluoride, and eventually leading to cavities.
To reduce the amount of sugar you eat and drink on a daily basis, be aware of what you’re eating and where hidden sugars may reside. Choose healthier food alternatives, and prepare and cook your own meals whenever possible. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugary foods and drinks. Substitute sodas and fruit juices with water throughout the day.
Babies and toddlers should never sleep with a bottle. When a child’s first permanent molars come in, consider having sealants placed on the chewing surfaces. The coating acts as a barrier, protecting teeth from acids that feed on sugars and cause tooth decay.
For adults, chewing sugar-free gum after eating can stimulate saliva production, which will help clean food from teeth, and will neutralize acids and remineralize the teeth. Make sure to brush teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and visit your dentist regularly. Small cavities, when detected early, are much easier to repair. For more information, please contact:
1121 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515