How To Avoid Cavities If You Have A Sweet Tooth

Staying Away From Sugar To Improve Your Oral Health

Truth be told, if you have a sweet tooth, it is extremely difficult to stay away from sugar.

Sugar not only exists in the obvious foods, like candies, cakes, and sodas, but it hides in foods where you'd least expect to find it.

Did you know that one tablespoon of ketchup contains about 4 grams of sugar?

It is kind of scary to think about all of the hidden sugar in foods that we eat.

So, what sugars should you avoid?

How does sugar affect your oral health?

Let's take a look.

 

Article Table of Contents:

Added Sugars Versus Natural Sugars

Common Places You Can Find Added Sugar

Why Is Sugar Bad For Your Teeth?

How Can You Prevent Sugar From Ruining Your Smile?

 

Added Sugars Versus Natural Sugars

These two sugars are exactly what they sound like.

Added sugars are sugars that are (you guessed it) added to products.Kid with lollipop

Common places you can find added sugars:

  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Bread
  • Donuts
  • Soda
  • Fruit Drinks
  • Coffee Beverages
  • Condiments

Natural sugars, on the other hand, are sugars that occur naturally in foods.

Fruits are an example of food that has natural sugars.

That's why most fruits are sweet in flavor.

The primary contrast between natural sugars and added sugar is that natural sugars usually have other ingredients that might be good for you, like vitamins, minerals or antioxidants.

However, and this is important: this doesn’t make natural sugars good for you!

It just makes them less harmful than added sugars.

You are better off getting vitamins and minerals from non-sweet food sources.

Overeating sugar of any kind, whether it occurs naturally or not, is terrible for your health.

Why Is Sugar Bad For Your Teeth?

Sugar is bad for your teeth because it is a primary cause of tooth decay.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that feed on sugars from food and drinks.

Plaque, the sugar-eating bacteria, sticks to your teeth.

It then produces acids that eat through the enamel on your teeth, causing tooth decay and cavities.

A cavity is a permanently damaged area in the hard surface of your teeth that develops into tiny holes.

If you have a cavity, you need to get it treated and filled as soon as possible, or it could lead to further damage that you will need a root canal to take care of.

How Can You Prevent Sugar From Ruining Your Smile?

You can decrease how much sugar you put into your body.

It is best to make a few substitutions in your diet to cut down on your sugar intake

Substitutions that you could make:

  • Substitute sugar options: Xylitol and Stevia are two alternative sweeteners that are safe for your teeth.
  • Swap out sugar and use extract: in recipes, use extracts like almond, vanilla, orange or lemon instead of sugar.
  • Cut out sugary drinks: beverages like sodas and fruit juice coat your teeth in sugar and acid, which is not a good thing. They also stain and discolor your teeth if drank frequently. 
    • Water is the best option for drinking.Sugary soda pop leads to Tooth Decay | Hylan Dental Care routine teeth cleanings

Of course, it is next to impossible to cut sugar completely out of your diet, and we understand that those with a sweet tooth will need a candy fixing every so often.

A few tips to prevent the sugar you do have from damaging your teeth:

  • Don't brush your teeth right away. Since the sugar and acid is stuck on your teeth, brushing will just help to break down the enamel.
    • It would be best if you waited about 30 minutes after eating a sugary meal to brush and floss your pearly whites.
  • Shy away from foods where sugar is listed as one of the first five ingredients. Since ingredients are listed from greatest quantity to least, if sugar is listed near the top, you can guarantee that there is a large amount in the product.
  • Eat it rather than drink it. Drinking a beverage with sugar in it coats all of your teeth. Eating it, however, usually just coats the few that are used to chew.
    • Eating it is the better option of two negatives.

It helps to have better daily oral hygiene care routine in place if you do tend to intake a large amount of sugar throughout your day.

Get in the habit of swishing with water after sticky foods. 

The longer food stays stuck in your teeth, the longer bacteria can feast, and the more acids will be produced.

If it will be a while before your next brush and floss, swish with a little water to remove the bacteria from your teeth, so it doesn't stay on long.

Use toothpaste that contains fluoride.Best Dentist Near My Location

Fluoride helps reduce tooth decay and promotes remineralization (assists in building enamel stronger) so that your teeth are less likely to develop cavities and tooth decay.

It also wouldn't hurt to implement The Daily Four into your daily oral health routine to further improve (and maintain) your oral health.

Click here to learn more about The Daily Four.

Get Your Teeth Checked Today!

Decreasing your sugar intake and practicing The Daily Four are great ways to improve your oral health vastly.

Another step to improve your teeth is having routine check-ups with a dentist.

If you live in the greater Cleveland area and are ready to schedule a teeth cleaning and check-up, click the button below to start booking a visit with us Hylan Dental Care.

Schedule Teeth Cleaning