Are you wondering how bad sugar is for your teeth? Or for that matter, the teeth of your children? There’s a lot of hype out there about dietary choices. Don’t eat wheat, don’t eat red meat, do eat red meat but avoid grains…it’s enough to make you throw up your hands and just eat whatever the heck you want. But what if your diet could harm your oral health? Is sugar just the latest dietary demon, or is there something to be really concerned about?
Sugar and Your Teeth
Even the Canadian sugar institute admits that sugar contributes to dental caries – also know as cavities. Of course, they phrase it as “all fermentable carbohydrates”, and remind you that that includes all sugars and starches. Sugar is just the most concentrated form of these! They explain that bacteria on your teeth turn sugar into acid, which softens the enamel on your teeth and causes it to slowly wear away. Less enamel means more cavities and more sensitive teeth. Your teeth naturally wear away a little, and rebuild a little, but it’s important to keep these two in balance or you lose too much enamel!
The Benefits of Regular Dental Visits
Kid Teeth and Sugar
Children’s teeth are especially susceptible to decay because their enamel tends to be softer. Baby teeth are important and not to be overlooked! Two major ways that children’s teeth end up decaying are frequent snacking, and drinking juice. Frequent snacking (in both children and adults) means that teeth are exposed to acids for a longer period of time, increasing erosion. Juice and kids’ teeth don’t get along too well either. Even 100% fruit juice exposes teeth to way more sugar than just eating the same amount of fruit whole. Drinking juice from a bottle is even worse because it tends to expose teeth to juice for a long period of time. The British Dental Association recommends limiting juice to no more than 150 mL a day for kids, limiting juice consumption to meals (milk and water are good in-between), and encouraging kids to eat whole fruit instead of drinking juice.
Nutrition for Healthy Teeth
Sugar causes tooth problems, but there are better dietary choices you can make for your oral health! Reduce soft drinks, juice, candy, cookies, and pastries – anything high in sugar – and choose instead a variety of foods from each of the food groups. Cut down on snacking, and if you do snack, choose whole fruit or a piece of cheese instead of something sugary. Making sure you eat a balanced diet will also mean the tissues in your mouth are better able to resist infection and remain healthy. And always make sure you’re drinking plenty of water! Your dentist can help you determine a good diet for your oral health.
Give us a call at Monterey Dental Centre today to book your appointment and keep your mouth healthy!
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