Kids and adults know Easter is a season of sugary treats. Everywhere tempting us are jelly beans, marshmallow Peeps, and chocolate bunnies and eggs. April this year includes not only Easter but the arrival of so many fresh fruits in season – natural sugar from nature.
We know sugar affects our teeth and gums, but must we skip Easter candy and fresh fruits completely? No, because there are ways to reduce the harmful effects of sugar.
The Enemy is Acid, Not Just Sugar
By itself, sugar doesn’t harm teeth. When we eat or drink sugary and starchy things, we supply sugar to the mouth bacteria that then make acid. Citrus fruits and drinks also bring in acids. Within 20 minutes after eating, these acids start dissolving the tooth enamel.
Then a battle starts. Saliva comes in to wash away the food particles and acids – and – saliva supplies the minerals to rebuild the tooth enamel. To rebuild the enamel takes time, so if the acids keep coming in then the saliva can’t keep up.
If the bacteria and acids overwhelm the saliva’s work, then the results are cavities and gum disease. To fight back, we have many tools, including home care, regular checkups, and professional teeth cleanings as Dr. Rick Dentistry offers. Without good dental care, we can expect fillings, root canals, extractions, gum disease, and crowns. Dr. Rick Dentistry can help with these treatments, but prevention is the best plan!
The Winning Strategy
Easter treats, starchy foods and fresh fruits, and the bacteria’s acids, will do far less harm if we use this easy preventive strategy:
- Avoid constant or repeated snacking on sugary and starchy treats – give saliva lots of time to repair the enamel.
- Daily floss once and thoroughly brush twice.
- Eat foods that fight acids, e.g., fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, cheese, yogurt and dairy products.
Special Techniques to Win
Research has shown that the acids weaken our tooth enamel in the first few minutes after they form. So we should not brush immediately because the enamel is weaker then. The better plan: rinse out the mouth instead with water, or better yet, baking soda and water.
Other winning techniques include:
- Eat non-sugary foods around the same time as sugary foods, to reduce the acids’ effects.
- Eat cheese to slow the acids, make more saliva, and supply necessary enamel-repairing minerals.
- Chew sugarless gum to sweep away food particles and stimulate more saliva flow.
Dr. Rick Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ welcomes children and adults whenever the need arises, but there is no need to try to eliminate all sugary treats and fruits. Taking a few precautions to fight back against sugars and acids in the mouth means we can enjoy candies and citrus drinks responsibly.