With Halloween coming up, the concern of cavities and the overindulgence of sugar in the form of candy have likely crossed your mind. While many know that sugar causes cavities, it seems like the issue is only thought about in October. Cavities are a serious dental issue that can result in tooth loss if not treated. How does that seemingly innocent piece of candy cause cavities (or holes) in your teeth?
Sugar and Your Teeth
As gross as this sounds, your mouth is full of bacteria. This bacteria, however, is good. It helps keep your teeth clean, regulates the production of enzymes in your saliva that destroys plaque and bad bacteria on your teeth and help regulate the pH environment in your mouth. Your mouth is constantly under attack from acids and bacteria found in the food we consume. When we consume sugar, we feed the bad bacteria in our mouths. These bad bacteria produce acids that eat away and destroy the tooth enamel, making the tooth vulnerable to decay. These harmful acids can continue to leech in under or through the tooth enamel creating holes in the tooth which we call cavities. The more sugar that is consumed, the more bad bacteria there will be.
Fortunately, under normal circumstances where excessive sugar is not consumed, your mouth produces saliva which is rich in calcium, fluoride and phosphates which rebuild and restore the natural day-to-day damage of tooth enamel. This cleaning and protective mechanism is insufficient, however, when excessive amounts of sugars and starches are consumed. An overload of sugar can be too much for your saliva to fight, giving the cavity causing bacteria the upper hand.
What You Can Do to Ward Off Cavities
The best thing you can do to reduce your chance of getting cavities is to cut back on your consumption of sugar. If you have a severe sweet tooth, enjoy fresh fruit or sugar-free gum or hard candy.
Another way to reduce the risk of sugar getting stuck to your teeth is to regularly keep your mouth clean. Brushing your teeth after each time you eat sugar is ideal. There are other ways to achieve a clean mouth should you be unable to brush your teeth throughout the day. You can bring mouth wash to work and regularly rinse out your mouth. Swishing your mouth with plain water can also rinse the sugar and plaque from your teeth.
When you brush your teeth, make sure to use fluoride toothpaste and make sure your toothbrush is clean and in working order. Toothbrushes with cross bristles are best for reaching otherwise hard-to-reach places where plaque can accumulate. You should also replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
If you accidently over did it on sugar consumption, make an appointment with Hazzouri Dental today. Our professional dentists can quickly and effectively handle your possible cavity problem. If cavities are found, we provide tooth colored fillings to protect your teeth from further decay and damage.