Whether you’re still enjoying the last remnants of your children’s sizable Halloween haul, or you haven’t included cutting out that extra slice of chocolate cake on your list of 2019 resolutions, making the decision to reduce your sugar intake can be a difficult one. If it seems like you are bombarded with countless opportunities to binge on sweets in daily life, you’re not alone. According to recent estimates, the average American consumes between 150 – 170 pounds of added sugar per year. Bottom line? The siren call of addictive sugary snacks impacts us all, but your Reston dentist is here to overview some of the compelling reasons to start cutting back on sweets as soon as possible.
You Love Sugar? So Does Bacteria.
While many people understand that too much sugar isn’t great for their teeth, far fewer seem to understand why exactly that is. It isn’t that sugar is naturally corrosive – it’s that certain kinds of oral bacteria feed on sugar, and in the process, produce acids which erode the tooth enamel.
Enamel, as you may know, is the hardest substance in your body and the first line of defense against tooth decay, but it is ultimately no match for prolonged exposure to acids like the ones produced by bacteria as they feed on sugar. The erosion of enamel leaves teeth susceptible to disease and decay – this is how cavities are formed.
Replacing Bad Habits With Good Ones
While we proudly offer a number of ways to treat tooth decay and combat cavities, there is wisdom in the old adage – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Why not save yourself the time, energy, and money spent on fillings, crowns, or maybe even root canals, by reducing your risk of tooth decay through dietary and lifestyle changes? Here are some actionable steps you can take to start strengthening your teeth:
- Cut back on sugary beverages like sodas, sports drinks, and certain fruit juices. Make a conscious effort to replace more of these drinks with water.
- When you do indulge in a sugary drink, consider using a straw to reduce the amount of the beverage coating your teeth.
- In addition to cutting down on sugary snacks and desserts, incorporate more fibrous fruits and vegetables into your diet. This promotes healthy saliva flow which stems the tide of tooth decay.
- Ensure you are brushing at least twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste. This is critical for supporting your tooth enamel.
Everything In Moderation
It’s important to note, abstinence from sugar is not necessarily what we’re recommending. Instead, start preserving your oral health by moderating your sugar intake, picking up some healthier habits, and seeing your dentist for regular visits. Excessive amounts of sugar can wreak havoc on a healthy smile, but there’s plenty of realistic ways to begin protecting your teeth.