We all know that consuming large amounts of sugar can wreak havoc on your overall health. And, I'm sure you've been told by your dentist or parents "Eating too much sugar will give your cavities!".
But, with all these warnings, do you know WHY sugar can be so harmful? Sugar is EVERYHERE, it's in so many of the foods and drinks we consume, it’s important to understand why you should avoid them as best you can. Sit back and relax! Let us tell you what is going on inside that mouth when you pour some sugar in there. And, we'll also give you some tips on how to prevent.
Your Mouth is the First Line of Defense
All the food and drinks consume enter through your mouth, so your mouth acts as a first line of defense for beneficial and harmful bacteria. Studies have shown that some of these harmful bacteria produce acid in your mouth whenever they encounter and digest sugar. This means every time you consume sugar, these bacteria are producing more and more acid that eats away at your teeth.
Your saliva works to combat this damage, but if you constantly consume sugar there’s more acid than your saliva can handle alone. The repeated cycle of acid attacks on your teeth causes mineral loss in the shiny, protective layer around your teeth called the enamel. Over time, this acid weakens and destroys the enamel, forming a cavity.
Here's a fun little video to show how this process works:
Tips to Help Combat Cavities
There is sugar in so many foods and drinks you consume it may seem overwhelming to find a way to rid unnecessary sugar from your diet. However, you can begin with the most harmful version, processed or refined sugar, like the kind found in candy, ice cream, potato chips, pre-packaged snacks, and soda. Instead, try to eat more foods high in fiber and protein like nuts, cheese, and leafy greens to promote strong teeth.
Also, vegetables like carrots and celery are even better for your teeth in that they naturally remove plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth. Drinking plenty of water during and after eating promotes saliva production and cleans your mouth from bacteria and food particles.
While consuming large amounts of sugar is detrimental to your oral and overall health, consuming a sugar substitute called xylitol can help prevent cavity-causing bacteria. This sugar-alcohol substance is found commonly in sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, and different kinds of toothpaste.
And last but not least, taking good care of your teeth with good homecare is instrumental in winning the battle against tooth decay.