Most Cary residents know that frequently eating foods high in sugar can cause cavities. Therefore, it’s important to limit candy, soda, cookies, etc. Also, remember that frequency is as dangerous as the amount of sugar.
Research has found that a higher frequency in sugar consumption may lead to demineralization more than the amount of sugar consumed. In other words, eating sugary foods in small amounts on a regular basis can do more harm than eating the occasional sugar-laden dessert. (Healthline)
Tooth Enamel Varies in Density
Before we discuss the issue further, let’s review the miracle substance that protects our teeth: enamel. While enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it’s not invincible. In fact, it demineralizes (loses some of its density) when it comes in contact with sugar, acids and bacteria.
Let’s discuss additional eating habits and how they can affect oral health.
Acid is as Bad as Sugar
First, let’s talk about acids. A plethora of both healthy and unhealthy foods and drinks are acidic. Soda pop and energy drinks are especially harmful because they have sugar and acid, a dangerous combo. Plus, they provide virtually no nutrition. However, you probably don’t want to limit all acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes. Many acidic foods and beverages are high in Vitamin C and other nutrients.
You can protect your teeth by eating these things as part of a meal to limit the acidic effects. It is wise to eat a variety of healthy foods such as chicken, cheeses, chicken, other meats, nuts and milk. The calcium and phosphorus will support tooth remineralization.
Meal Timing Makes a Difference
The more often you eat the more often your teeth are subject to the decay process. This can be tempered by picking healthy snacks. And keep in mind, the later at night you eat, the more likely you will skip brusing and flossing altogether.
While the enamel is soft, the tooth is susceptible to losing a microscopic outer layer of enamel. If the onslaught continues, the much softer dentin underneath is exposed. The dentin erodes more quickly. Eventually, you may lose the tooth.
Understand Which Foods are Acidic
Broadly speaking, the normal diet is becoming more acidic. The list of acidic foods may surprise you. They include eggs, gravy, asparagus, chicken, cottage cheese, honey, fish, ham, butter, sour cream, aged cheese, and yogurt with active cultures. Generally, foods with a high sugar or artificial sweetener content are highly acidic. We don’t recommend cutting out the healthy foods. We just want you to be aware of them so you can make better choices.
If your teeth have become more sensitive in general, or in response to hot or cold foods or liquids, you may have enamel erosion. Call us to schedule an appointment and Dr. Acton can examine your teeth and discuss it with you.
Is Your Go-To Beverage Affecting Your Teeth?
Now let’s talk about beverages. You probably already know that soda pop and wine are not good for your teeth. Cary teenagers that sip soda all day can have acid erosion while their young teeth should be at their strongest. As mentioned, energy drinks have a multitude of teeth-damaging ingredients. Dentists are noticing the consequences of their increasing popularity.
If you drink soda or energy drinks often, you may want to drink water or chew sugarless gum after downing a can. Increasing saliva production can spark the remineralization process.
If you choose to chew gum to stimulate saliva production, a good choice is gum with Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark but is also found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners (natural or synthetic), xylitol is actually helpful for your teeth.
Several clinical studies have established that xylitol restricts the growth of the bacteria that initiates cavities. It also reduces plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.