The Top Ways to Prevent Sugar from Ruining Your Smile | Saunders DDS
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    The Top Ways to Prevent Sugar from Ruining Your Smile

    by Saunders DDS on July 10, 2017

    Sugar has an addictive effect that’s been proven to be similar to both cocaine and heroin. This substance can not only cause other problems to your body—including increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes—but is hugely damaging to your mouth.

    It’s fine to desire a sugary beverage or dessert and to one every once in a while. However; many people eat much more sugar than they realize. For instance, a conventional yogurt can have more sugar than a doughnut! Do you know how much sugar you’re consuming on a daily basis?

    Whether or not sugar is a big part of your diet, we have some ways to help you prevent it from wrecking your smile. The following tips can help you to prevent tooth decay and still enjoy sugar—just strive for moderation!

    Drink with a Straw

    If you like to drink soda, drinking it with a straw is one of the best ways to avoid damaging your enamel.  Soda is sugary and acidic—two characteristics that make it perfect for tooth decay! When you drink with a straw, you help the drink effectively bypass your teeth. This means there’s less of a chance that the sugar and acids will damage your teeth and cause cavities.

    Rinse with Water

    When you eat sugar, the pH of your mouth changes. It becomes more acidic which demineralizes the enamel.  The longer the pH of your mouth remains acidic, the more time it has to impact the health of your teeth’s most protective layer.

    In order to help combat the effects of sugar on your mouth, you can complete a simple task that helps restore your mouth’s pH- just rinse with water. After you consume your sugary food or beverage, swish some water around in your mouth and spit it out. Now, your teeth are a little more protected until you can get to a toothbrush!

    Wait to Brush

    Speaking of toothbrushes, the best time to brush your teeth may be before breakfast, but it’s definitely not immediately after consuming sugar. Since sugar alters the pH of your mouth and can soften enamel, brushing even a few minutes after is a bad idea. It can wear your enamel away over time, especially if you’re brushing aggressively.

    The best thing to do after consuming sugar is to wait a minimum of 30 minutes before brushing. It can actually take up to an hour for the pH of your mouth to return back to normal. If you’re planning on brushing after eating sugar, take care to wait between 30-60 minutes before doing so. It can help protect your teeth!

    Get Checkups

    Getting checkups with your dentist in Asheville is essential to stopping sugar in its tracks. From identifying the beginning stages of a cavity to helping you develop healthier habits, your dentist is an essential part of your oral care routine.

    When you schedule a dental exam with your Asheville dentist, you not only help ensure your smile is healthy, you can get a professional cleaning to get to all the places where plaque might have built up that you don’t know about.

    Get a dental exam with your dentist. Your teeth will thank you!

    Don’t Eat Sweets Often

    Eating sweets in moderation will also improve the health of your teeth and gums. A diet full of sugar will increase your chances for tooth decay. A more balanced diet with the occasional sugary treats can help you to have a healthier smile.

    Take a look at your diet and find the hidden sugar—we guarantee there’s some in there! From bread to yogurt to meats, sugar is lurking in just about everything.

    Evaluate how much sugar you really eat in a day, then do your best to make healthy changes to minimize your consumption. A treat every now and then, or even every day, is fine. Just be sure to care for your smile and don’t indulge too often!

    Never Sip

    If you’re drinking soda, juice, energy drinks, or another sugary beverage, then drink it, don’t sip it! Sipping these drinks throughout the day prolongs your teeth’s exposure to sugar. This means you can incur more damage just from sipping over a long period of time.

    Whether it’s fruit juice, a smoothie, or a coffee with sugar, don’t sip these drinks unless you’re using a straw. Try to finish them all in one sitting so that your teeth don’t have time to be damaged by the acidity.

    This is often why childhood tooth decay happens—parents put juice in bottles and let their child sip throughout the day. Significant tooth decay in babies and children is sometimes referred to as baby bottle tooth decay.

    Mix with Water

    When you’re consuming a sugary beverage such as juice, you can help minimize the damage to your teeth by mixing it with water.

    This makes the sugars and acids less concentrated and therefore a little easier on your smile. If you’re going to go with this method, you should still try to drink plain water afterward if you can.

    Eat Better

    We’ve discussed eating sweets in moderation, but what about healthy treats?

    Apples and other fruits like bananas, pears, dates, and many others are considered nutritious and contain lots of fiber and water. While these sugars can still impact your body, they are cushioned by their fiber and water content, something baked goods and juices can’t claim.

    Instead of drinking apple juice, eat an apple. Instead of eating a cookie, have a banana or a date. Yes, the level of sweetness may be a little different, but these treats will be easier on your smile and still provide your body with added nutrients. You can make healthier choices for a healthier smile!

    Are you surprised by just how many tips there are for protecting your teeth from sugar? You can still enjoy sweets while keeping your pearly whites healthy. Keep these tips in mind the next time you choose to eat or drink something sweet. Even simple acts like waiting to brush or rinsing with water can help immensely!

    Worried about how much your sugar consumption has impacted your smile? Schedule an appointment with us to see just how well your oral health habits are holding up!

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