Sugar and Cavities: How Your Diet Affects Your Teeth
Cavities are one of the more frustrating dental issues to tackle. Thankfully, dental caries are preventable with good hygiene and some healthy diet tips. By following these guidelines regarding sugar and cavities, you can effectively decrease your dental caries risk.
Sugar and Cavities
During our very first dental visits as children, we are warned about the effects of sugar on our teeth. Avoiding sugar is said to produce a healthy, happy, and cavity-free mouth. While this is part of keeping our teeth healthy, there are other factors as well.
Anytime we eat or drink, we are changing the pH balance in our mouth. When we ingest anything besides water, we are causing a chain reaction. Our mouth becomes acidic and our oral pH drops. When we chew our food, our digestive process begins. The acids that break down what we are eating and drinking also can dissolve minerals from our teeth enamel. The pH in our mouth determines what sorts of things can thrive there. Much like a garden where you are trying to grow food and minimize weeds, a balance is needed. A higher pH means microbes that are generally healthy for our teeth, and low pH creates bacteria and microbes that typically cause cavities. What we eat is only part of the puzzle; how we eat is also a factor.
The Best Diet to Prevent Cavities
Eating sugar is definitely a culprit in damaging our teeth, but what are the other issues? You may not realize it’s not only what you eat but how you eat it. You may not be eating a lot of sugar. In fact, you may have a very healthy diet, but you snack all day. If you are eating healthy snacks non-stop, this makes it tricky for your mouth to maintain a high pH balance. When we nibble on things all day, we are making our oral bio-system work harder. Saliva is designed to raise your oral pH after eating or drinking. As you eat or drink, your oral pH drops, and if you are continually eating and drinking, your saliva will not have enough time to do its job. Constantly feeding the biofilm allows too much acidic time in the mouth, which can lead to mineral loss, unhealthy microbe overgrowth, and cavities. If you can eat separate meals and minimize snacking, your mouth will have an easier time staying healthy.
With beverages, the same rules apply. Sugary drinks can cause damage, but so can diet sodas and tea and coffee. In fact, anything other than plain water will change the pH balance in your mouth. Carbonated sodas are especially tricky because the carbonation causes a weak carbolic acid, which is damaging. Coffee is quite acidic on its own as well. Any drinks other than water should also be minimized and observed.
What if You Have to Eat More Often?
Some health conditions require more frequent eating—so what then? Thankfully, there are ways to still mitigate damage and lower your pH. CariFree Gel has patented pH technology to not only neutralize pH but to neutralize decay causing acids. It helps prevent cavities and also includes fluoride for remineralization. Sugar and cavities are connected, but it’s not as simple as most people believe. In order to prevent cavities, brushing, flossing, and rinsing daily will give your mouth the best chance to stay healthy and cavity-free. If you maintain a generally healthy diet and can give your mouth breaks to rebalance itself during the day, it will have an even easier job.