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We all know too much sugar isn’t good for our health – not for our waistlines, and definitely not for our teeth. Here’s how sugar affects your teeth and overall health, and what you can do to prevent cavities. Hint: it starts with brushing your teeth at least twice a day and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings in Studio City.
Your mouth is essentially a bacteria trap, harboring germs from the foods you eat and beverages you drink, as well as a whole host of other sources. There are millions of bacteria in your mouth at any given time, some good for your dental health and some bad. In fact, one study says bacteria can actually produce acid in your mouth when it comes into contact with sugar. That acid erodes the tooth enamel as part of a process known as demineralization.
Fortunately, your saliva saves the day in most cases, by reversing this damage through remineralization. Calcium and phosphates in your saliva work together with fluoride (found in most toothpastes) and water to repair the enamel after such acid invasions. In the process, your teeth get stronger.
But if this cycle keeps happening over and over again, your enamel will experience mineral loss. This will eventually result in a cavity, a form of tooth decay that acts essentially like a hole in your tooth. If you don’t do anything about that hole, it will spread and allow more bacteria inside.
You will start to feel pain, sensitivity, and, if still left untreated, tooth loss down the line.
Sugar is a bacteria magnet. The bacteria that feed on sugar will form that sticky film on your teeth known as dental plaque. This can be very tough to get off on your own — yet another reason to see your dentist every six months, where it can be scraped off.
So what can you do to prevent these things from happening?
First, you can cut back on your sugar intake. If you have a sweet tooth, you can still enjoy the cookies and cakes you like; just cut back on the amount. And always brush after consuming sugar. This is the single most effective way to prevent cavities, no matter what you eat.
You can also chew sugarless gum to promote salivation, as well as eat high-fiber fruits and veggies, which provide much-needed minerals to your teeth. Eat plenty of dairy, as calcium and phosphates make your teeth stronger. And reach for green and black teas when thirsty, as they reduce harmful bacteria.
To book your next cleaning and start the new year off right, contact us at 818-762-2977.