Cut the sweet stuff

Dental Resolution 2018
Dental Resolution # 4: Cut the sweet stuff

This resolution will work nicely for anyone who wants to shed a few pounds and enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet!

Sugar is bad for you; end of story.

It’s found in almost every food in our Western diet, is one of the leading causes of general ill health and obesity, and takes centre stage as the main culprit in tooth decay.

Your mouth is a war zone

Sugar causes problems for your teeth because it is irresistible to bad bacteria.

The human mouth is filled with oodles of bacteria, and many are beneficial – but two destructive bacteria – Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus – are dangerous. And they just LOVE sugar.

Once you eat something sweet, these harmful bacteria feed on the sugar; multiply and form a sticky plaque on the surface of the teeth.

How sugar destroys teeth

Once the destructive bacteria take hold, the delicate pH balance of your mouth changes. A pH balance of 7 is neutral, but sugar-loving bacteria cause it to drop, turning your mouth into a corrosive vat of acids that eat away at the protective enamel.

This demineralisation of the shiny enamel erodes it away, dissolving it and exposing the sensitive dentine layer underneath.

Saliva contains minerals like calcium and phosphate which help strengthen teeth against acid attacks, but the flow of saliva can’t keep up with the repeated cycles of erosion when you eat lots of sweet stuff.

Over time, the acids weaken and destroy your teeth’s enamel, causing holes or cavities. Left untreated, cavities will spread through the tooth layers and cause pain; extreme sensitivity and ultimately tooth loss.

Protect your teeth against sugar

• Cut the sweet snacks and stay away from processed and refined foods – the savoury products are chock-full of sugar to make the taste appealing. Check the label. Eat whole grains; dairy; fresh fruit and vegetables.
• Eat more raw foods; they increase saliva flow.
• Cut out sweet and acidic drinks – even fruit juices are bad for your teeth. Just an occasional sugary drink can increase your risk of tooth loss substantially.
• Don’t sip on anything except water- studies show that the way you drink impacts the risk of cavities.
• Use a straw for drinks; it helps bypass vulnerable teeth.
• Only chew sugar- free gum; holding foods in your mouth for prolonged periods gives the harmful bacteria more time to do damage.
• Flush your mouth with water after sweet foods to dislodge bacteria
• Don’t eat between meals; if you must have a sweet snack do so with other foods.
• Use a fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss religiously at least twice a day.

Come visit us at Smile Store twice a year for your check-up so we can help before any problems get worse! Call us on 021 432 0004 and we’ll fit you in.