Is Sugar the Enemy of Healthy Teeth?
We tend to celebrate our favorite holidays with food – often items with lots of sugar. Just think about all the desserts we associate with holiday celebrations. Cookies, cakes, and candies surround us with delicious temptation. Is it possible to maintain healthy teeth and enjoy some of the season’s special food delights?
Some sugar isn’t bad, but if you really want to have a tooth friendly diet, then you need to limit your sugar intake. Why? Well, read below to find out.
Why Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
When you ingest sugar, the bacteria that live in your mouth break it down rapidly into various acidic compounds. You see, it isn’t the sugar that actually damages your teeth; it’s the acids that are created from its decomposition. These acids eat away at tooth enamel and cause decay, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.
The saliva in your mouth can wash much of the acid away. However, the process takes around thirty minutes, and if you are consistently snacking on sugary foods, you don’t give your body time to dispose of the acids properly.
Processed sugar consumption has been linked to the rise in type 2 diabetes among Americans. Unfortunately, the more than 30 million Americans who have diabetes are at a higher risk for multiple oral disorders, such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis. By limiting your sugar intake, you decrease the probability of diabetes and all its associated health risks.
Sugar in and of itself isn’t bad. Everything you eat has sugar in it, and you need sugar for your body to work properly. However, as a general rule, only consume sugar if it’s derived from natural sources, like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. And cheating every once and awhile isn’t bad; just make sure you bring a toothbrush or some sugarless gum to help rinse off all those acids.
Oral health is a good indicator of general well-being, and if you follow a diet for healthy teeth the rest of your body will thank you. At your next exam with Dr. Halim, ask about ways to improve your oral hygiene routine and learn more about the best diet for healthy teeth.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. Contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment and find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.