Sugar and Your Oral Health

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Do you ever find yourself craving something sweet? Do you find yourself facing these cravings fairly often? If so, what do you do? Naturally, eating candy is not the best thing you can do for your smile, but it may not be the worst thing you can do either. In fact, some snacks may not be as bad as you assume and sugar itself may not have the effect you expect it to.

Of course, you can always enjoy treats that aren’t full of sugar. For example, you may consider salty snacks such as pretzels or popcorn. However, sugar may not cause the problems you think it does.  You see, foods either contain acids or create acids in your mouth. Acid—not sugar—causes problems in your mouth. However, sugar creates an environment where bacteria can thrive, which leads to more acid.

Fortunately, your saliva will negate the effects of acid. You can promote saliva simply by chewing gum or eating an apple. Similarly, a substance known as tannin can also reduce acids.  Some foods and beverages that contain tannin include red wine, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

However, some chocolates are better for your teeth than others. This is partially because the tannin in chocolate is in the cocoa. Since dark chocolate has more cocoa—and also less sugar than white and milk chocolate—it’s probably your best choice.  You should also avoid chocolates with chewy fillings that can damage dental work and stick to your teeth. In reality, you should avoid foods like taffy and caramel altogether.

Finally, while you may be tempted to brush your teeth after you eat something sweet, you should wait at least half an hour. The acids from the food you eat will weaken the outer layer of your teeth, meaning your brush will cause additional damage.  After half an hour, your enamel will harden itself again.

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact New Prague Gentle Dental Care at 952-758-3003.Dr. Gregory Dvorak and our entire team are eager to hear from you.

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