Are Sweets Really That Bad for Your Teeth?
At this time of year, sweets and candy can be found everywhere. Whether candy is sitting on the table left over from Halloween or baked goods have begun to permeate the house, it is just about impossible to completely escape the allure of the tasty goodies. Are sweets really that bad for your teeth anyway?
In a word, yes. What your mother and your dentist have been telling you for years is not just an exaggeration. Sweets and candy can start a chain reaction that may end with cavities, tooth decay, and other detrimental effects to your health.
How Sweets Rot Your Teeth
t directly rot your teeth. What happens is that the streptococcus bacteria in your mouth feeds on the sugar from sweets and creates an acid that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. The longer the sugar from sweet treats is allowed to sit on your teeth, the more time the acid has to cause damage. The worst of the damage often begins in the crevices between teeth. While drinking water or rinsing your mouth may remove sugar from tooth surfaces, sugar may hide between teeth.
Sugar Fluctuations and Health
In addition to causing the reaction that eats away at enamel, sweet treats can also cause blood sugar fluctuations. Blood sugar fluctuations are not good for health in general, but over time can cause the body to pull calcium and phosphorus from the bones. This stress response can affect children
s growth and development and can cause various health complications for adults. As the body works to regulate blood sugar levels, oral immune responses may also be weakened, contributing to complications.
The Worst Culprits
Chewy and sticky sweets are the worst culprits for tooth decay. These treat can stick on teeth and be difficult to wash away with saliva or water. Hard candies, especially sour ones, can also be very bad for the teeth. Hard candies are filled with sugar and can take time to dissolve. Sour candies also contain high levels of acid that can contribute to enamel break down.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Limiting your intake of sweet treats can help to prevent sugar from sticking on teeth and damaging oral health. If you don
t want to completely avoid sweeties, brushing and flossing after consuming foods and drinks that are high in sugar can keep sugar from staying on your teeth long enough to cause problems. Consuming sugar free substitutes or chewing sugar free gum may also help you to avoid the issues related to consuming sugar filled foods, while still allowing you to indulge your sweet tooth.