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The Relationship between Sugar and Your Teeth

October 10, 2012

halloweenHalloween is just a couple of weeks away now. That means that, soon, another night of trick-or-treating will be underway. Trick-or-treating may primarily be a young kid’s activity, but if we adults are honest, we’ll admit to nabbing a piece of candy (or two or three) from the supply we bought to hand out.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Enjoying a piece of candy from time to time is a good thing. But so are a balanced diet and excellent brushing and flossing habits.

So instead of making you feel guilty for eating candy this Halloween, we’d just like to briefly explain how sugar interacts with your teeth. That way you can make more informed decisions this Halloween season for you and your children.

Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

Yes and no. Sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities, but it does create just the right kind of environment for them to flourish in.

That’s because we all have a special type of bacteria in our mouths that feeds off sugar. When you consume foods or drinks high in sugar, the resultant feeding frenzy leads to the creation of acid. It’s this acid that attacks our vulnerable tooth enamel and causes it to decalcify.

That doesn’t mean that all sweeteners are bad for your teeth, though. Xylitol, a natural sweetener found in fruits and vegetables, has much fewer calories than regular sugar and promotes a health, stable pH level in the mouth. It’s so effective that it’s sometimes used in toothpastes and mouthwashes to help patients protect their teeth.

Tips for This Halloween

So what should you be doing this Halloween?

First, have fun. Don’t worry about enjoying your favorite candy. But don’t overindulge either. Set limits for yourself and your children, and consider substituting traditional candy with candy sweetened with xylitol.

Second, always brush and floss after enjoying your Halloween treats. You can also use a fluoride mouthwash to give your teeth even more help in the fight against decay.

And third, call Grand Dental in Nichols Hills if it’s been more than six months since your last visit. Regular exams and cleanings from our team are an important step in protecting your smile and improving your overall quality of life.

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