Savour your Sugars Smartly

If you were given two options of foods to snack on, a carrot or a chocolate, which chocolate would you choose?

Sugar is a common ingredient in diets among most cultures across the globe, however, it is also notorious for decaying & destroying teeth by causing cavities or more commonly, holes in the teeth.

As much as sugars are necessary to provide energy in the body, it is also very important to monitor how we consume them.

How does sugar cause decay?
  • 1. As soon we eat something sweet, a certain group of bacteria living in our mouth start to feed on these sugars & produce acid.

  • 2. This makes our saliva acidic, & this acidic state favours demineralization (loss of mineral) of the enamel (outermost white layer) of the tooth.

  • 3. The acidic state usually lasts about 15-20 minutes, post which the neutral saliva starts to initial remineralization (giving back mineral) of this enamel.

How can we stop this process?
  • 1. FREQUENCY: The more often you consume sugars, the more often your mouth is in an acidic state & the teeth are being constantly demineralised. When the rate of demineralization exceeds the rate of remineralization, a cavity starts to form. So you would rather eat an entire bar of chocolate at once, than snack on it at ten different times throughout the day.

  • 2. QUALITY: Sugar in a solid or sticky state will tend to remain on the tooth surface longer than a liquid or non sticky sugar. So prefer your sugars in liquids or in forms that won’t stick to your teeth for long. If you do have to eat something sticky, make sure you rinse your mouth with water afterwards to remain cavity-free!

  • 3. TIME: Sweet things consumed along with meals will do lesser harm than when consumed as a snack alone. This is because the rate & quantity of saliva production is highest during meal times. This increased saliva production serves two purposes,
    a. It helps wash away the sweet food stuck on the teeth,
    b. It helps neutralize the acid production and contains defense factors that prevent decay.

  • 4. RINSING: Rinsing your mouth water immediately after eating sweet foods stops the entire decay process through the methods of neutralisation & removal of sugar from the tooth surface as mentioned above.

  • 5. FLUORIDE TWICE A DAY: Fluoride plays a very crucial role in remineralizing our teeth. Therefore, if you have a sweet tooth, you should also make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day to reverse the damage being done to your teeth.

  • 6. HIDDEN SUGARS: Many a time, we feel that even without eating sugars we are getting a lot of cavities. The reason may be ‘hidden sugars’ in your diet that you aren’t even aware about.

    At the Dental HQ, we do a diet chart assessment of our patients to show them how frequently they are consuming sugar on an average.

    Some foods that contain hidden sugars are - cereals, yoghurt, dairy products, fruits, ketchup, sodas, potato wafers, & even pasta & noodles!

    So don’t limit your idea of sugars to chocolates & sweets while assessing your sugar intake.

  • 7. PROTECTIVE FOODS: Certain foods help to protect the teeth from decay by providing more minerals to the tooth. Hence, you should include more cheese, nuts, green leafy vegetables & fiber rich foods in your diet.

In a nutshell, make your food choices conscious & selective. Sugars eaten in moderation & following the tips being given above, will keep your teeth healthy.

Lastly, don’t forget to visit your dentist every six months to make sure that in case a cavity is forming on the tooth, it is caught at the earliest stage & hence, new cavities are prevented from forming!

Happy eating!

Book Appointment
Open chat