We know that eating a lot of sugar can lead to tooth decay, but you may be surprised to hear that sugar is not actually the direct cause of cavities. Certain bacteria in the mouth forms a sticky substance known as plaque on the surface of the teeth. When you eat sugary foods or drinks, plaque turns the sugar into acids that can attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes! Overtime, these attacks can eat away at the enamel covering the teeth, resulting in cavities.
With Halloween and the holiday season fast approaching, it’s inevitable that you and your family will be surrounded by sweets. What is important to understand is the risk of, cavities is not about how much sugar you eat, but about how long the sugar stays on your teeth.
To help protect your teeth from cavities, here are a few tricks that will allow you to enjoy sugary treats:
- Follow sugary snacks with a glass of water: Wash down sweet treats with a glass of water to help to neutralize any sugary residue remaining on the teeth. This will prevent plaque from having the opportunity to turn these sugars into the acid that erode enamel.
- Eat sweets at the end of a meal: At the end of mealtime, there is a lot of saliva left in the mouth. This solution isn’t as effective as drinking a fresh glass of water, but saliva can act in the same way by rinsing off any sugars left sitting on the teeth.
- Avoid sticky and gooey candies: Sweets that take a long time to chew or that can get stuck between your teeth prolong the amount of time that sugar is residing in your mouth. Instead try solid chocolates or other treats that don’t take as long to eat.
- Be careful of sour treats: When it comes to eating sour candies, it is actually best to wait about 30 minutes before brushing. Sour candy tends to contain high levels of acid, and brushing your teeth right away will only help to spread that acid around, which aids the plaque to harm the enamel.
- Stick to sugar free: The best solution for avoiding damage caused by sugar is to eat sugar free candies. This will stop plaque in its tracks by taking away its sugar source and not allowing it to create the acids that harm the teeth.
Following these simple tricks,you can enjoy your Halloween treats, without giving plaque the chance to turn the sugar into harmful acid that will damage your teeth.