When it comes to protecting your smile, keeping sugar out of the equation is an excellent start. But, if you’re trying to defend yourself from tooth decay, simply limiting your consumption of the sweet stuff won’t be enough. To better help you maintain your oral health, here are a few crucial things to know about sugar’s complex relationship with tooth decay — and how proper teeth cleaning can protect against damage.
Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?
Sugar does not cause tooth decay; but, it does contribute to the problem. Specifically, when oral bacteria consume sugar for energy, they produce destructive acids as a result. As such, exposing your mouth to this ingredient can trigger excessive bacterial activity, and as a result, throw off the acidic balance on your teeth. Over time, this acidic action will wear away at tooth enamel, causing cavities and possibly increasing the risk of infection.
What Sugar Sources Should You Be Wary Of?
Desserts — including candy, chocolate, cookies, and cake — are some of the most obvious forms of sugar. Fruit juices, energy drinks, sports beverages, and sodas can also easily stick to teeth, providing bacteria with a constant source of sugar.
However, not all sources of sugar are sweet. Technically, any carbohydrate is a sugar and can be used as an energy source by oral bacteria. For example, whole-grain bread, potatoes, and pasta are all popular carbohydrates that have nutritional value but still can contribute to tooth decay — especially when they stick to teeth.
How Can You Protect Your Teeth From Sugar?
If possible, limit your intake of refined sugars and replace them with healthier options — such as milk, nuts, and fruit. Additionally, brushing your teeth twice a day for two-minute periods and flossing at least once a day will help remove bacteria-filled plaque and food debris. However, if you’ve consumed something particularly sweet or a carbohydrate that has stuck to your teeth, embrace more frequent teeth cleaning.
For further protection, consume foods that contain calcium and phosphorous, as these minerals can help strengthen your teeth. Your dentist can also help keep cavities from forming by providing teeth cleaning, examinations, fluoride treatment, and dental sealants.
If you’re concerned about your cavity risk, Nayaug Family Dental has the resources to help protect your smile. To reduce the risk of tooth decay, this family dentist of South Glastonbury, CT, offers comfortable and convenient teeth cleaning services to remove bacteria-filled plaque and tartar. If cavities are present, this practice is equipped to provide fillings to restore the integrity of damaged teeth. To learn more about these preventive and restorative services, visit this dental clinic online. For appointments, call (860) 633-6167.