Cut Back Or Combat? Understanding Your Oral Relationship With Sugar
Most people recognize that sugar is bad for many aspects of their health, especially their teeth. Unfortunately, many people do not fully understand the relationship between sugar and tooth decay. Furthermore, current research and dental trends focus on reducing the effects of sugar rather than adopting a holistic approach that eliminates sugar from the diet. Below are the things you need to understand about sugar and your oral health.
What Does Sugar Do to Your Teeth?
Have you been told that sugar causes cavities? While it is true that sugar contributes to cavities, it does not cause them directly. Sugar causes bacteria that live in your mouth to produce acid. It is this acid that eats away at your enamel and causes cavities. Each time you put sugar in your mouth, it takes about twenty minutes for the bacteria in your mouth to break down the sugar. While the sugar is being broken down, the bacteria continues to produce acid. This means that if you take a bite of something sugary every twenty minutes as opposed to eating it all at once, you will continually produce acid for an extended period of time, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Understanding Current Trends and Research
Researchers know that sugar consumption is directly related to the development of cavities. In fact, your dentist has probably told you that sugar is not good for your teeth. However, much of the current research is focused on ways to combat the effects of sugar and protect your teeth from your sugar consumption rather than how to recognize and reduce your overall sugar consumption. This is largely due to funding for research paid for by the sugar industry, which seeks to focus on ways that consumers can continue to eat sugar. This means that you are more likely to read articles and hear news about how you can combat the affects of sugar rather than ways that you can effectively cut sugar out of your diet.
Ways to Cut Back
The best way for you to protect your teeth from cavities is to reduce the amount of acid produced in your mouth. This means limiting the frequency and amount of your sugar consumption. To reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and keep it out in the long term, you need to make slow, consistent changes to how and what you eat. The first step is to recognize which foods have sugar and when you tend to eat them. Then, figure out ways to meet your psychological and physical needs with foods that do not contain sugar.
One thing you should avoid when trying to cut out sugar is artificial sweeteners. These can actually make you crave more sugar, making your battle more difficult in the long run.
Ways to Combat
Since it is difficult to completely cut sugar out of your diet, you should still be aware of ways that you can combat the effects of sugar on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water or chewing an acid-neutralizing gum can help to reduce the amount of acid that comes in contact with your teeth. Having your dentist place sealants and scheduling regular cleanings to remove the plaque in your mouth can also reduce tooth decay caused by sugar in your diet. Consuming sugary snacks at once as opposed to snacking on them throughout the day can also reduce the damage you face.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent sugar-related tooth decay is to reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet. However, for most people this is an unrealistic goal. In these instances, it is important to know when you are consuming sugar and how to combat its effects. For more tips on your dental health, contact a local clinic like Forest Lawn Dental Centre.