Most people know by now that sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, but perhaps you’re not sure of is why it is so problematic or what you can do about it. To answer these questions, let’s first get clear on how tooth damage occurs.
Tooth decay is not caused by sugar in and of itself, but by a bacterium that is produced from the sugar in foods. These bacteria then produce acids that cause damage to teeth and the tooth enamel (a protective layer found on your teeth). Once tooth enamel is damaged, the teeth are less protected which means cavities are much more likely to occur because there is no barrier to stop them. Prevention of enamel damage is incredibly important for the health of your teeth and reducing your sugar consumption is one way to combat the problem.
So how much sugar is acceptable?
We know that having some sugar in our diet is okay, but the problem is that we tend to overeat on the white stuff because we grossly underestimate how much sugar is in our food. For example, many of the soft drinks we consume on a daily basis contain a lot more sugar than you would expect. Even the drinks that are labeled “healthy” like fresh orange juice can contain a surprising amount. It’s these “hidden sugars” that we don’t always think about that can push up our level of sugar consumption daily without even realizing it.
A simple solution is to start becoming aware of the amount of sugar in your food by checking the ingredients, and actively finding ways to replace these foods with less sugar. Avoiding sugary drinks as much as possible will drastically reduce your sugar consumption and is an excellent place to start improving your oral health.
Are you overdue for a checkup? Contact Mark L. Civin D.D.S. in Palm Beach Gardens today and make an appointment.