You probably know that sugar leads to cavities. The carbohydrates feed the bacteria in your mouth, and as the bacteria multiply, they produce acids that eat away at your tooth’s enamel. And most experts agree that limiting sugar consumption often results in healthier teeth (and a slimmer waistline). But some days your sweet tooth can’t be tamed.
You search the pantry like a crazed animal in hopes of finding a cookie, pastry or chocolate bar. When you can’t find anything at home, you may feel desperate enough to binge order dessert at the nearest cafe.
Fortunately, you don’t have to cut sugar and sweets entirely to enjoy a cavity-free smile. With a few small adjustments, you can protect your teeth and still snack on your favourite treats.
1. Limit Your Sugar Frequency
In an attempt to keep your sugar intake to a minimum, you may feel tempted to eat tiny amounts of sugar throughout the day. A bite-sized candy bar here, a lollipop there and maybe a cup of cocoa after work. These small snacks allow you to savour each bite, and they keep cravings in check. But every time you consume a sugar-laden dessert, you essentially bathe your teeth in acid. Though your mouth can counter small amounts of acid from time to time, the constant intake ensures that your teeth stay covered in damaging compounds all day long. If you want to keep your teeth healthy, consume sweets only at mealtimes or eat enough sweets in one sitting that you feel satisfied for the rest of the day.
2. Choose Your Sweets Carefully
Although any sugary food has the potential to damage your teeth, some snacks and sweets cause more damage than others. For example, gooey, sticky caramel binds to your teeth, allowing it to linger long after you’ve finished eating. Similarly, hard candies and lollipops
take a long time to dissolve, supplying you with steady stream of sugar for several minutes. With either sweet, your teeth have to face an acid bath for an extended time, increasing the likelihood of cavities and decay. In contrast, dark chocolate contains polyphenols, flavonoids and tannins that prevent bacteria from binding to your teeth, slowing tooth decay. When you nibble on dark chocolate, you can satisfy your cravings while doing your teeth a favour.
3. Follow Dessert With a Cheese Course
When you host a multi-course meal, you may follow the traditional pattern: first an appetizer, then soup and salad, next the main course and last the dessert. But when you eat in this order, you end with a mouthful of sugar and no time to brush or floss your teeth afterward. By the time you’ve finished your party, your teeth have sat in sugar for several hours with no relief in sight. Rather than end with dessert, finish your dinner with a round of cheese. Cheese restores your mouth’s natural pH levels, countering the acids from the sugar you eat. Additionally, cheese contains casein phosphate, which strengthens teeth and bones.
4. Swish Water After Eating
To keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh, you may want to brush and floss your teeth after every sugary food you consume. But though brushing and flossing are both healthy habits, you’ll want to time your cleaning sessions to avoid additional damage. Whenever you eat sugar, the acids leave your enamel weak and vulnerable to decay. If you brush immediately after eating, the bristles push the sugars and acids deeper into the grooves of your teeth. So give your mouth time to settle, and wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating to brush. To keep sugars under control in the meantime, rinse your mouth
Don’t Forget Regular Dentist Appointments
Although the above tips can help you minimise the damage you inflict on your teeth, even the best habits can’t completely eliminate the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
Fortunately, your dentist can spot cavities as they start to form. Through proper cleaning and fillings, your dentist can fight dental decay, even if you have the occasional craving for sweets.
So schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure your teeth stay beautiful and healthy.