Many people in Long Island love sugary treats and snacks. However, they can affect your oral health. While consuming sugar in moderation can be part of a healthy diet, it is important to understand how sugar can affect your smile in order to take care of your teeth for years to come.
Sugar can contribute to bacterial development in the mouth, producing acids that can erode or damage the natural enamel of the teeth. This can lead to the development of cavities, erosion of the smile, and other damage to your natural smile.
You may have heard that sugar can lead to cavities from the time that you were a child. However, this is more than a warning designed to keep kids from consuming too much candy. The mouth is already full of bacteria, and some of them good for your oral health while others may pose a threat. These bacteria feed on carbohydrates and sugars that you consume and can lead to infections in the mouth, including gum disease or tooth decay. Cavities and dental erosion can lead to pain or eventual tooth loss, or you may need other types of dental treatment to ease the pain caused by or repair a cavity.
While your teeth are vulnerable to the acids that cause cavities, minerals that can repair your tooth enamel can help to form a good defense. Minerals can come from the calcium and phosphates in your saliva, and you can stimulate saliva flow by eating high-fiber options like whole fruits and vegetables or opting for mineral-rich dairy products. Teas, including green and black tea, can help to suppress harmful oral bacteria. Of course, cutting back on sugar is an important first step in helping your teeth stay strong and resist cavities.
Regular tooth brushing is also important to resist cavities. Brushing your teeth can remove harmful bacteria, while the fluoride found in most toothpaste can help to prevent tooth decay and even reverse it in the early stages. When you do eat sugar, make sure to brush your teeth after to prevent bacteria and acids from developing and causing further damage.
Consider healthier options when snacking or consuming beverages. Choose water, unsweetened tea, or even diluted juice instead of sugar, energy drinks, or full-sugar fruit juice. Choosing better drink options can significantly reduce the effects of sugar on your smile and also help you to stay healthier. After all, the USDA advises adults to consume less than 18 teaspoons of sugar a day, and a single extra-large 32-ounce soda can contain nearly this much.
If you drink a sugary beverage, drink it in one sitting rather than sipping on a drink all day long. This way, you can brush your teeth or rinse with water after the beverage and reduce the impact of the sugar on your smile over time.
In all cases, brushing and flossing after every meal is a great way to help protect your teeth from the detrimental effects of sugar, as is visiting your dentist regularly to ensure that your oral health is properly cared for. Contact the Franklin Square dentists at Island Dental Associates for teeth cleaning or to request an appointment for a fluoride treatment. Contact our offices at 516-271-0765 or use our online form to schedule a visit.