Everyone knows that sugar is terrible for oral health, right? In general, this statement is true, but a few facts evade even the most clued-up people. Here are three facts that your dentist would like you to remember about sugar and dental health.
1. Not All Sugars Are Equal
When it comes to dental health, free sugars are the bad guys. These sugars, which are found in soda, candy, and juice, are an easy source of energy for the bacteria that reside in your mouth and produce acids that weaken your teeth. Other types of sugar, such as the fructose in fruit or the lactose naturally present in many types of dairy products, are bound up with fibre or other fats, making them less accessible for bacteria to feed on.
The digestion of other types of carbohydrates, such as starches, mostly occurs in the stomach, not the mouth. As a result, they are far less harmful to your teeth than pure sugar. There is no need to go on a low-carbohydrate diet to protect your teeth.
2. Diet Drinks Aren't Always Better
Switching from full-sugar soda to diet equivalents isn't necessarily doing your teeth a favour. While diet drinks are much lower in sugar than regular versions of the same products, they are often still very acidic. Acids, such as the phosphoric acid in cola, soften tooth enamel, allowing bacteria to access the fragile inner parts of your teeth and cause decay there.
Enjoying a soda once in a while — whether full-sugar or diet — is unlikely to destroy your dental health. However, if you consume these types of drinks every day, it is a good idea to try to break the habit. Try to get into the habit of drinking water instead.
3. It's Best to Brush Before, Not After Eating Sugary Foods
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel, which helps to protect your teeth from decay. However, if you brush right after eating, the acids produced by bacteria feeding on the sugar you just ate could leave your enamel soft and vulnerable to damage by the scratchy bristles of your toothbrush. Dentists recommend waiting 30 minutes after you eat before you brush. Another option is to brush your teeth before indulging in a sugary snack. Cleaning your teeth before eating reduces the concentration of bacteria in your mouth and the fluoride in the toothpaste helps to strengthen your teeth.
For additional tips, reach out to a local dentist.