Welcome to the second most tempting time of the year behind Halloween – Christmas. There is so much candy available… and then there’s the New Year ahead to make those resolutions to get back into shape! They are so yummy… but there’s more at risk than just your waistline. Your teeth are in danger of getting cavities from all those sugary foods and drinks.
But why are these foods more risky to your oral health than those that are healthier (read – more bland tasting)? Why is your enamel more under siege here by bacteria that wants to tear it down and cause tooth decay. It can be very puzzling.
The Chemical Reaction
You can’t entirely blame the sugar here. Your saliva plays a big part too. When the two mix, it creates a reaction that incorporates bacteria that is already in your mouth and the result is plaque that winds up on your teeth. If that plaque is not removed by regular brushing and flossing, then it hardens into tartar. That tartar, which cannot be removed except by a dentist, can get under your gum line and cause periodontitis, which is gum disease. You can halt it when its in its milder form – gingivitis – but once it progresses beyond that, then it’s not reversible.
Sugary drinks can play a big part in the decaying process. The reaction in your mouth can cause acid to attack your teeth… and it’s 20 minutes at a time… per sip. So it’s a constant bombardment. So if you’re lounging around in a pool in Clearwater for hours at a time, drinking soda the whole time, it can add up quickly. You need to make sure that you’re taking care of your teeth at the same time.
What to Do About It
Fortunately, the solution to this is within very easy reach. It’s water. When you have finished drinking your soda, drink some water and swish it around your mouth to clear out the soda before you swallow the water. Any sugary residue will largely be cleaned out. Soda or a sports drink may be tempting to quench your thirst, but water is the best thing for you.
The same thing goes for if you eat sugary foods. Just drink water and then go brush your teeth about half an hour or so later. Don’t do it right away because your enamel may still be soft and you don’t want to injure it with a well-intentioned toothbrushing. Do not put it off for too long though, otherwise you chance having the enamel being damaged from the sugar.
You can see the effects of sugar on so many parts of your body – your skin, your bones, your weight. Don’t make these foods part of your everyday diet. Make them a treat once a week or so and try to eat healthy the rest of the time. It makes it so much more delicious and satisfying than doing it every day. Did you have a good week of working out? Have a candy bar. Don’t deprive yourself, either. Deprivation leads to bingeing.
You have to have a strong dental routine each and every day. That means spending two minutes at a time brushing your teeth, whether with an electric one or a manual one. Also floss once a day. Be conscientious while brushing – pay attention to which tooth you are hitting and don’t just do a haphazard job that takes far shorter than it really should.
It can be hard to resist those sugary treats, especially if they are within easy reach in your house – which proffers the solution of only buying them one at a time at a store rather than in bulk… with Halloween being the possible exception. Then be sure to keep up with the toothbrushing so that you can eat these with minimal guilt!
Fortunately, if something happens to your teeth due to sugar and you live in or near Clearwater, Florida, you can go to Dental Emergency Room. They are open 24/7 and the staff will be able to fix your problem quickly. They also have general dentists who can take care of all your regular dental needs. Give them a call today to make an appointment: 727-449-2424.