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Dental Care Tips: How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

Once we have our adult teeth, they need to stay strong and healthy for a long time. So it’s obvious that we should understand what causes tooth decay and how we can prevent it by practicing excellent dental care.

Why Is Sugar So Bad For Your Teeth?

Your mouth contains many different types of bacteria, some good and others bad.  When you eat something sugary and the bad bacteria comes into contact with the sugar, a corrosive acid is formed. This acid forms a sticky clear film called plaque which covers all your teeth.

If the plaque remains on your teeth for an extended period it combines with the minerals in your saliva, hardens and becomes tartar or calculus which can only be removed by a dentist.

The bacteria forming acids in plaque draw minerals out from the tooth enamel which is the protective layer covering our teeth. Repeated acid attacks eventually cause a cavity.

Why Does Saliva Help Counteract the Acid

Everything you put in your mouth has a positive or negative impact on your teeth. If your diet is nutrient deficient it will be evident on your gums and teeth.

Luckily, we have saliva which constantly fights to reverse the damage caused by bacterial acids. For around 20 minutes after eating foods with sugar or starches your saliva starts to reduce the effects of the acids attacking your teeth. This is because saliva contains calcium and phosphate and restores minerals to teeth that have lost these minerals from bacterial acids. 

There are many simple ways to avoid tooth decay which can include regular visits to your dentist, excellent oral hygiene at home and by reducing or removing sugar from your diet.

Medical Conditions That Can Affect Your Teeth

There are also medical conditions that increase the risk of having weakened teeth and if you suffer from one of these conditions it is even more important that you make regular visits to your dentist.

  • Acid reflux
  • Eating disorders
  • Dry mouth from antidepressants
  • Diabetes

What should I be doing to prevent plaque build-ups?

Make today a day of intention to have the healthiest teeth you can for the rest of your life by making dental hygiene a priority.  It’s also important as parents to educate your children from a young age about the importance of dental care.  Here are some dental care tips to help you keep a healthy smile:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Use any toothpaste containing fluoride
  • Floss daily
  • Use a mouth wash regularly
  • Remember to brush your tongue when brushing your teeth
  • Replace your toothbrush every 4 months or sooner if necessary
  • Visit your dentist regularly, preferably twice a year for a check up
  • Go to your hygienist for a professional clean

It’s also important to try and reduce the amount of sugar intake by limiting your consumption of the following items:

  • Soda and sports drinks
  • Sugary snacks – most snacks are chosen for convenience and usually contain sugar and or carbohydrates
  • Starchy foods – these can get stuck between your teeth
  • Alcohol
  • Sweets, cakes, chocolate, sticky foods

Dental care is important in the fight against tooth decay.  At Eriks Dental Group we provide caring and comprehensive dental services.  If you are looking for a family dentist in Boynton Beach, give us a call at 561-733-4004.