Do you have a weakness for sweets?
If so, you are not alone. The average Canadian eats approximately 40 kilograms of sugar each year. While you may want to grab that chocolate bar, or that piece of cake, it is important to know that sugary, sweet foods can damage your teeth. Each time you eat a sugary snack, the acid on your teeth can last for 20 minutes.
The natural-occurring bacteria in your mouth works with sugar to multiply itself. Overtime, this will turn into plaque and continue to eat away at your tooth’s enamel. Plaque is a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other materials that covers all the surfaces of your teeth. When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, and tiny holes will eventually be made in the enamel, causing cavities. If left untreated, the cavities will continue to grow. Plaque also produces toxins that attack the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
If you continually snack on sugar containing foods, candies and drinks throughout the day, your teeth are constantly under attack.
WHAT YOU CAN DO…………
Here are some tips to help reduce tooth decay risk from the foods you eat:
- Consume sugary foods with meals. Saliva production increases during meals, which helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth
- Carry a travel-sized toothbrush and use it after eating sweets. If you can’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water
- Limit between-meal snacks. If you crave a snack, choose nutritious foods
- Consider chewing sugarless gum after eating or snacking to increase saliva flow and wash out food and acid
- Drink more water. Consuming fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, check the label for the fluoride content
- Brush your teeth twice per day and floss once a day
- Eat sugar-free snacks
- Eat more fruits – it can help to control your sweet tooth
Each time you eat food that contains sugars or starches, acids attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more.
NEXT POST – the best and worst foods for your teeth!