When you were little, your dentist probably warned you against the dangers of eating too much candy and not brushing your teeth. However, it isn’t necessarily the sugar that causes trouble in your mouth — it is the acid.
Sugar and Cavities
After you eat something sweet, sugar is left behind on your teeth. Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one enjoying the sugar, the bacteria in your mouth do too!! The bacteria eats the sugars, which creates an acid that, if left on your teeth, begins to break down and destroy your tooth’s enamel, consequently causing cavities.
Good Oral Hygiene is Key
When you brush your teeth, you are removing that acid and preventing it from sitting on your teeth and damaging your enamel. However, it is critical that you brush your teeth often and thoroughly to remove the acid. When you miss areas in your mouth, like the deep grooves in your teeth, the acid lingers which may then break down your tooth’s enamel.
In addition to regular brushing, flossing and fluoride are key. Flossing helps to remove the plaque build-up between teeth and remove that acid. Fluoride is another excellent protector. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that hardens the enamel on your teeth, making it difficult for the acid to break down and destroy your teeth’s surface, which results in fewer cavities.
It is also important that individuals are mindful of their sugar intake. It isn’t just candy, cookies and cakes you must be wary of. Soda and fruit juices all contain sugars that can linger on your teeth. Sticky candies and even dried fruits, such as raisins, are especially important to be careful with. They are difficult to remove and require impeccable hygiene. Rinsing with water following sugary snacks helps to dilute the acid and may help to decrease the risk of cavities.
If you want to reduce your cavity risk, it is crucial that you are not only mindful of the amount of sugar you ingest, but also your own oral hygiene habits. Regular visits to the dentist are necessary to ensure your teeth receive the proper treatment they need to remain healthy and beautiful. If you have a high risk for cavities, you may want to consider sealants for deep grooves so that sugar cannot stick into these areas, and the regular use of fluoride rinses.