Sugar plays a role in the formation of cavities. Tooth decay is caused by acids produced by bacteria found in the mouth. A little of the sugar in the food we eat gets left in the mouth even after we swallow and these traces of sugar are what bacteria live on.
Check nutrition facts labels for sugar. Sugar is present in many healthful foods, not just junk foods and sweets. Dried fruits have a lot of concentrated sugar, and can stick to the teeth. Juice has as much, if not more, sugar than soda.
What Can You Do to Avoid the Harmful Effects of Sugar on your Teeth?
1. Avoid eating too many sweets. Especially damaging are hard candies that people tend to melt in their mouths for many minutes and chewy candies that stubbornly stick to your teeth.
2. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day at least. Good oral hygiene eliminates traces of sugar in your mouth and consequently prevents bacteria from metabolizing them into cavity-causing acids.
3. Visit your dentist twice a year. Thorough cleaning by a dental hygienist removes plaque and tartar. Your dentist can also detect early signs of decay and provide treatment before full-fledged cavities can form. He or she may also prescribe dental sealants or fluoride treatments that provide added protection against tooth decay. If you don’t have a family dentist, talk to your Treatment Coordinator and we’ll match you with a recommended dentist in your area.