If you have been keeping up with our blog, then you know we put a lot of emphasis on preventive care.
Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing should be part of your everyday routine. You should visit the Beaumont Family Dentistry location nearest to you twice a year for regular cleanings and examinations, too.
After all, we want you to be able to eat the foods that you enjoy. Plus, we love seeing your pearly whites whenever you smile in our office.
But have you considered how the foods you eat may be making it harder to keep your mouth free from tooth decay and gum disease?
Today, we want you to take some time to learn how different foods can help or hurt your teeth. Tomorrow (or someday soon), we hope to see you at one of our dentist offices in Lexington no matter if you live in Georgetown, Richmond, or anywhere else in Central Kentucky.
You Aren’t The Only Thing Craving Sugar
Lots of people have a sweet tooth (including many dentists and dental professionals). As delicious as a warm brownie, a piece of cake, or some fresh cookies might be, you also need to consider how they can affect your oral health.
Nutritionist Paula Moynihan explained how sugars can affect your teeth in a piece for deardoctor.com.
Sugars are the primary cause of many dental problems. The bacteria that live inside your mouth use sugars in the food that you eat to make plaque.
As you eat more sugar, you create more opportunities for bacteria to make plaque. This sticky substance holds organic acids that can eat away at the enamel that covers your teeth.
Enamel is the hardest substance on the human body. Its job is to protect your teeth, which it may not be able to do if plaque eats through it.
It’s also important to note that bacteria are not picky. They can and will use any sugars you give them to make plaque.
The Different Types Of Sugar
While bacteria will use any sugars they can get, some sugars are more beneficial (to the bacteria) than others.
Here’s a short description of the types of sugars you may be consuming:
◆ Processed Sugars
When someone says sugar, this is probably what you think about first. A lot of the processed or refined sugar in our modern diets come from sugar cane, sugar beets, and corn.
These types of sugars are sometimes known as “free sugars.” You’ll often use them in recipes for baked goods and find them in items you might buy at a bakery. Free sugars are commonly found in soft drinks and cereals, too.
These free sugars are great … if you are bacteria. These kinds of sugars increase your risk of having cavities.
◆ Natural sugars
It will not surprise you to learn that these are sugars found in nature. These sugars are created by plants as a result of photosynthesis. Sugars provide energy for plants just like they do for the people and animals who eat them.
One of the differences between natural sugars and free sugars is that natural sugars are absorbed slower. This is because plants also have fiber (along with vitamins and minerals). This may help explain why eating an apple is better for you and your teeth than eating a candy bar.
We consume starches when we eat bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes (to give a few examples). Starches are a more complex type of sugar, and they generally need to be chewed for longer.
By themselves, foods that are considered starches are less likely to cause tooth decay. However, when you add free sugars (such as in the sauce you put on your pasta), then you may be increasing your chances of developing tooth problems.
Protect Your Teeth
With that in mind, we hope you get to eat a piece of cake on your birthday (just don’t eat the whole cake).
But when you do consume sugary foods and drinks (especially ones with free sugars), it’s more important to pay attention to your dental hygiene.
Fluoride treatments, which you can get when you visit one of our dentist offices in Lexington for preventive dental care, also help. Fluoride can strengthen your enamel, which makes it harder for bacteria to make holes in your teeth.
It’s OK to enjoy dessert, just don’t go overboard. And remember to practice the basics of good oral care — brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist at least twice a year.
To schedule your next visit to Beaumont Family Dentistry by calling us or clicking on the office of your choice to make an appointment online.
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