Sugar appears in so many of the foods and drinks that we love. Sugar is delicious, but if we take in an excessive amount of sugar it may lead to tooth decay. However, very few people understand how this tooth decay comes about. It is crucial to note that it is not technically sugar that is responsible for the damage, but rather the process that occurs after consuming a sugary food. The more you learn about the way sugar affects your teeth, the less you will want to consume it.
The Science of Sugar
Your mouth contains numerous species and genus of bacteria. Some are dangerous, while others are crucial for dental health. There is a group of bacteria that releases acid in the mouth as they digest the sugar. These acids cause the de-mineralization of teeth. Fortunately, your saliva naturally initiates the re-mineralization process. Additionally, fluorides, phosphates, and calcium assist in re-mineralization as well.
Continuous attacks by the acids can cause de-mineralization, ultimately weakening and destroying enamel and possibly leading to cavities. If the holes are not taken care of appropriately, they invade deeper into the teeth layers, resulting in pain and tooth loss. Symptoms of tooth decay are sensitivity to cold or hot meals and drinks, pain as you chew, and toothache. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a dentist as soon as possible.
The Effects of Excess Sugar
Some of the dangerous bacteria present in the oral region are the Streptococcus genus. They form dental plaque after breaking down the sugars you take. If you don’t remove it through brushing or saliva, the mouth’s environment becomes too acidic, leading to the development of cavities. The acidic environment destroys enamel causing de-mineralization. Without proper management, the smaller holes develop into larger ones.
Types of Dietary Intake that Leads to Tooth Decay
The following eating habits play critical roles in the development of cavities:
Consuming Sticky Foods and Beverages
These foods provide long-term sugar sources. Some examples of these include lollipops and mints. These foods are retained in the mouth for a long time, attracting pathogenic bacterium and leading to acidity. The outcome is severe de-mineralization and short periods of mineralization. Similarly, sipping sweetened drinks is a risk factor for developing cavities because your teeth are exposed to the sugars for a prolonged time, allowing the pathogenic bacteria to accumulate in your mouth.
Eating Snacks Containing High-Sugar
Repeated consumption of sugary drinks and sweets leads to cavities. Snacks with a high concentration of sugars expose your teeth to the acids’ harmful effects, leading to tooth decay. Recent studies reveal that kids who feed on a large number of potato chips as snacks have a four times higher chance of developing cavities, unlike those who don’t eat many potato chips.
Management of Tooth Decay
In order to protect your mouth from tooth decay, there are some steps that need to be taken to lower the risk of damage to your teeth.
Monitor What You Drink and Eat
In your diet, incorporate enough dairy products, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Use straws when taking in sugary drinks to reduce your exposure to acids and sugars.
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene And Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Brushing after every meal is essential in preventing tooth decay and cavities. Consider using toothpaste containing fluoride to assist in re-mineralization. Additionally, pay closer attention to how much sugar is in your diet and try to eliminate unnecessary foods, drinks, and treats with too much sugar in them.
Schedule an Appointment
If you’re worried about tooth decay and want to learn more about how to prevent cavities, schedule an appointment with us at South Meadows Dental and Orthodontics. We offer the best services in dental health, and always put our patients’ needs first. For further inquiries, contact our offices at 775-413-2976 or fill out an online form.