The Scary Facts about the Effect of Sugar on Teeth – And Which Foods Can Help Fight Cavities!
With Halloween already upon us this week, all our little ghouls, witches, princesses and superheroes will be loaded to the max with sugar and junk food. Just watch as the four C’s – Candy, Chips, Chocolate and Cans of soda – are stuffed into bags and pillowcases, brought home and chomped on by our kids’ precious teeth.
The Sugar Scare – Why is it So Bad?
Contrary to popular belief, sugar itself doesn’t cause decay. The problems come from bacteria that feeds on the sugar, which creates an acidic cocktail that eats away at the enamel on your teeth.
To keep teeth and gums healthy, how much sugar you eat is not necessarily as important as when and how you eat it. When you chew on candy or other sugary foods throughout the day, the enamel that protects your teeth is continually exposed to the acids created by bacteria. Hard candies, or anything containing sugar that dissolves slowly in your mouth, are the most harmful.
At Halloween, it’s not realistic to can the candy! Instead, try to modify WHEN and HOW you and your kids eat it, to give your mouths the best chance of fighting the effects of sugar.
- Eat your sugary treats or drink soda with a meal. The extra saliva you’re producing helps to wash away the sugar and bacteria.
- Brush your teeth after eating. If you can’t, chew sugarless gum or rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.
- Try to avoid eating sugary foods between meals. If you do, brush your teeth!
- Never eat candy just before bed! You don’t produce as much saliva when you sleep.
The GOOD News – Some Foods Fight the Effects of Sugar
Dr. Ray Liu, our practicing dentist, has some great advice to help combat the consequences of eating sugar. “Certain foods are anti-cariogenic, which means that they fight the effects of sugar. Namely, cheese and nuts! If you’re not allergic to either of these, both cheese and nuts are great anti-cavity foods that you can feed the kids and offset the amount of treats they’re getting at Halloween.”
Will YOUR Kids Be Haunted by their Childhood Sugar-Habits for the Rest Of Their Lives?
Not as long as they eat it in moderation – and brush and floss thoroughly. The golden rule…if you’re going to eat sugar, brush your teeth afterwards!