Can Your Teeth Handle Sweet Treats?

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We know that sweet drinks and sugary foods can have serious consequences on our health, but do you know just what kind of damage they can do to your teeth? Sweet treats and drinks are a part of many people’s lives that they love to have, however eating and drinking them too much can harm our mouths. 

The Link Between Sugary Treats and Oral Health

Bacteria thrive on sugar. In the mouth, bacteria clings to the sugar that we consume. The American Dental Association explains, “bacteria get their energy from the sugar, but in the process they produce acid.” They go on to explain that the acid can damage the teeth, causing cavities and even erosion to occur. 

Oral Health Problems 

Dental problems linked to sugary drinks are things like cavities or tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth using sugar to damage the teeth.

Tooth decay is when your tooth’s enamel is broken down. It happens when plaque accumulates on the teeth. Plaque is always forming on the teeth, which is why brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist for deep cleanings are important. This plaque results in acid that destroys tooth enamel. Overtime, the enamel will break down so far that it causes cavities and tooth decay. 

When you get a cavity it means you have a little hole in your tooth. Decay can also attack the gums too, causing things like receding gum lines, gum disease, and exposed tooth roots. 

Sugar is linked to all of these problems because of its ability to aid in bacteria growth. If you’re going to continue to consume sugar, it’s important to brush at least twice a day, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste. In addition, floss daily, and incorporate more nutritious foods in between high intakes of sugar.

Having Your Sugar and Enjoying it Too 

We’re not saying you have to cut sugar out of your diet, but we’re saying to be mindful of what you’re consuming. Mainly, be weary of the added sugars in your diet. You can still enjoy your sweet treats, but follow these tips to keep your mouth healthy:

  • Space out your sweets! If you enjoy sugary drinks while eating meals rather than alone or right before bed, it’s better for your oral health. 
  • Drink lots of water. This will help balance out the sugar you’re consuming to a certain extent. In addition, this also helps balance out the acidity that comes along with a lot of popular sweet drinks, like soda. 
  • Rinse your mouth with water right after snacking, then brush your teeth about 30 minutes later. This helps protect your teeth. If you brush right away after a sweet, acidic drink, your enamel is not prepared for brushing. Brushing right after you consume the sweets can harm your enamel. 
  • Chew gum sweetened with xylitol to reduce cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Neutralize acidity in the mouth by using a balancing pH mouthwash. 

Signs of Tooth Decay

Cavities can have varying symptoms depending on how far developed they are. Common symptoms get more severe as the cavity further develops. The common signs of cavities include:

  • Toothaches from mild to severe
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and food, painful eating
  • Air sensitivity 
  • Colored staining on tooth surface, typically in brown, black, or white

Treatments for Tooth Decay 

If you do have signs of cavities or tooth decay, your dentist will be able to verify that for you by examining your mouth and looking for signs of pain and sensitivity. Treatment options for tooth decay include:

  • Fluoride treatments, which can help restore the enamel and reverse cavities in their early s stages 
  • Fillings are the most common option to help with tooth decay that fills the hole with tooth-colored composites
  • Root canals help treat decay when it’s affected the pulp of the tooth. This helps save teeth rather than remove them
  • Tooth extraction is the last resort that happens when the decay is too developed and the tooth can’t be restored 

Going to the dentist regularly can help you catch cavities before they’re too developed. During your routine exams, Dr. Varley at Stonebrook Family Dental will check your teeth closely for signs of decay. If any sign is detected, you’ll learn about what treatment option would be best for your state of cavity. 

Make an Appointment 

If you think you have a cavity, or even if you just need to come in for a routine cleaning, make an appointment today at Stonebrook Family Dental. No matter how healthy you think you are, you need to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Our office is conveniently located in Aurora, CO and serves the surrounding areas. Call today for an appointment at (303)-872-7907. 


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