Are you worried about your sweet tooth affecting your smile? It's no secret that sugar can wreak havoc on your oral health. However, simple precautions will allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your oral health.
How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
Sugar itself isn't the reason you develop tooth decay. What it does is create the right environment for bacteria to flourish. When you consume foods or beverages high in sugar, harmful bacteria break down that sugar and convert it to acid. The acid eats at and damages the outer surfaces of your teeth called the enamel, which results in tooth decay and cavities. If left untreated, the damage can progress deeper into the tooth, resulting in pain or even tooth loss.
Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth Without Compromising Your Oral Health
Try Xylitol Gum or Candy: The best thing you can do is to limit your sugar intake. However, if you crave something sweet, opt for xylitol gum or candy instead. This natural sugar is not a viable food source for the bacteria in your mouth. It actually decreases the number of bacteria, protecting your teeth from decay.
Opt for Whole Fruits: A delicious ripe piece of fruit can satisfy a craving for sweets. Eating whole fruit supplies your body with water, fiber, and natural sugars, as well as many essential nutrients. When consumed in moderation, most fruits will actually help your teeth stay healthy. Try to limit the amount of highly acidic fruit, such as lemons and pineapple.
Stay Away from Sticky Treats: If you have to have a sweet treat, try to steer away from sticky ones, such as caramel or even dried fruit. The last thing you want is sugary food particles lodged between or stuck onto your teeth, and providing bacteria with a food source.
Limit Between-Meal snacks: This helps give your saliva a chance to wash away acid and repair your teeth before the next meal.
Drink Plenty of Water: Remember to drink water while you enjoy your dessert to help rinse and flush away sugars.
Brush Your Teeth: If your sugary treat is not acidic, brush your teeth immediately after you are done. If, on the other hand, you indulge in a treat with a high acid content, make sure to wait 30-60 minutes before cleaning your teeth. Brushing immediately after consuming acidic foods can actually damage your tooth enamel.
Preventive Care to Combat the Effects of Sugar on Your Smile
If you are prone to tooth decay and simply can't resist sweet temptations, talk to us at Dr. Rick Dentistry about preventive fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Fluoride protects and strengthens tooth enamel, and makes it more resistant to decay, while sealants protect the chewing surfaces of molars from bacteria.
The most important way you can protect your teeth is to maintain proper oral hygiene practices, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and flossing daily. Make sure you schedule a dental visit twice a year for an exam and a professional cleaning. That will allow us to catch any problems in their early stages when easiest to treat.
Quality Dental Care in Scottsdale, AZ
Visit Dr. Rick Dentistry to learn more about keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. We are committed to providing the patients in our care with exceptional dental services at our state-of-the-art facility. We look forward to caring for all your dental needs. Call us today!