You’ve long been warned that sugar is bad for your teeth because it causes tooth decay. Do you know how this happens?
When you eat or drink something that contains sugars the bacteria in your mouth converts those sugars into energy. This process forms acid that can damage the enamel of your teeth. The conversion process lasts for about 20 minutes. If you do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth within that time, these acids begin to erode the enamel on your teeth, potentially leading to tooth decay and cavities.
How carbohydrates act like sugar on your teeth
But, carbs are good for you because they provide energy, right? The short answer is, “Yes”, but sugars are carbs and carbs transform into sugar. This means that foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as breads, potatoes, pastas, and fruits, can also lead to increased tooth decay and cavities. Not only do bread and pasta contain carbohydrates but, because they are chewy and can become paste-like in your mouth, they adhere to your teeth easily and stay there longer.
If you neglect to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out with water after eating, the stuck-on food and the sugars they contain will begin to wear away your tooth enamel. When you allow these carbs and sugars to stay on your teeth after a meal, you are further weakening the enamel on your teeth. Eventually, some areas of your tooth enamel will be completely worn away and cavities will begin to form.
Sweet drinks that are bad for teeth
Sodas, sports drinks, and fruit drinks are high in sugar, which is the leading cause of tooth enamel erosion. The carbonation in soda actually speeds up this process. To reduce the chances of harming your teeth, you should drink high-sugar during a meal, which can neutralize the acids created. You should NOT be sipping these drinks throughout the day, or you are literally bathing your teeth in acid all day long.
While foods and drinks that contain sugar and carbohydrates can damage your teeth, you can still enjoy them without dental risks. Brush right after eating so you don’t allow the sugars to adhere to your teeth longer than necessary. If brushing isn’t an option, rinse your mouth with water to wash away some of the food that might be stuck in your teeth, and to neutralize the acids in your mouth. If you can, you should brush your teeth within an hour after eating. You don’t have to give up sweets for good, but you can be smart about it. Enjoy the foods and drinks you love, but keep a healthy smile by rinsing and brushing soon after enjoying them.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implants and Prosthetic Dentistry, are your full-service Littleton dental implants specialist and are experts in all types of tooth replacement therapy. If you would like more information on your family’s dental needs, make an appointment today.