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Sugar and Cavities - The Relationship

You Can Achieve Sweet Success

Learning to curb your sweet tooth: For many of us there’s no such thing as too sweet. But too much sugar in our diets can not only lead to obesity, it’s also a major cause of tooth decay. When chewed, sugary foods react with bacteria on your teeth to produce an acid that destroys tooth enamel. These acid attacks last up to 30 minutes, enough time to do serious damage to your teeth

The key to maintaining strong, healthy teeth is reducing your desire to eat sweets. This simply means you should eat foods that are naturally sweet and nutritious, and try to avoid sugary, high-calorie desserts and snacks.

Sticky sugars such as cookies and candy will stick in the grooves of your back teeth.  These areas are at higher risk for cavities from sticky sugar intake.  Liquid sugaras such as pop, juice, and coffee with sugar tend to be responsible for decay on the smooth surfaces of fromt and back teeth, that is to say the outside and inside surfaces.  These types of cavities often start at the gumline near the root of a tooth.

Another very important factor in reducing the risk of cavities is the frequency of sugar intake.  After a sugar is consumed, sticky or liquid, the acidity in the mouth remains high for about 30 minutes.  It is during this time that plaque bacteria are most active in converting sugar to acid.  After this 30 minute period, the saliva in your mouth has cleared much of the sugar out, and the activity of the bacteria is greatly reduced.  If another sugar is then introduced, the process restarts.  It is for this reason that sipping sugary drinks, most often pop or sugared coffee, a bit at time throughout the day, can be so harmful to your teeth.  These sorts of beverages are best to be taken in with meals.  Non sugared drinks or water are the best beverages to sip between meals.

Try the following tips to curb your desire for sweets. Start by eating tea biscuits or plain cookies instead of chocolate cookies and cakes. Experiment with recipes by gradually reducing the amount of sugar you put in meals – most foods can take up to a 75% reduction in sugar! Eat fruit for dessert and in-between snacks, but go easy on dried fruits which are high in calories. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit, and eat only unsweetened cereal livened up with fruit slices. Always avoid buying sweets for your kids.

When choosing food, be aware that the main reason we need to eat is to supply our bodies with fuel for energy. Sugary snacks and refined, processed foods are generally low in nutrients, high in calories, and don’t really satisfy our hunger. Remember, any foods that are good for your body are also good for your teeth. These include fresh fruit, vegetables, low-fat items such as lean meat, skinless poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, as well as low- or non-fat dairy products.  Shop the around the outside of the supermarket and try to avoid the isles!  We can recommend other nutritious foods that will reduce your tolerance for sweets, while promoting healthier teeth and a fitter lifestyle for you.

If you need more information on diet or sugar and its relationship to your teeth and dental health, please contact our the dentists at our Winnipeg dental clinic - the Tuxedo Dental Group.

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