Does Sugar Really Cause Tooth Decay?

October 6, 2009

The culprit causing tooth decay is not sugar itself but the acid created by bacteria who feed on the sugar and other carbohydrates like sugar.

Though we were warned about too much sugar since childhood, we never really understood why we’ve been told not to eat too many sweets. Our parents told us to avoid sweets but we never really knew for a fact how it is related to dental care.

Ask any well read dental care professional and he will tell you that sugar and other sticky carbohydrates, like sugar coated cereals and snack foods, are the starting point of tooth decay. In fact even wholesome food such as bread and raisins stand on equal footing with sugar in relation to decay of your teeth. The problem isn’t just about too much sugar, but rather, that the sugar and refined carbohydrates are the starting point for the streptococcus bacteria inside the mouth which loves to feed on carbohydrates. These bacteria live on a biofilm called plaque and they produce acids. The acids eat away at the calcium/phosphate crystal of the enamel, which is the outer layer of teeth. Saliva can only partially neutralize the acid. If the acid stays on the enamel just 20 minutes, the teeth demineralization process begins, and rot sets in.

In a study conducted by the New York University Dental School it was found that cooked starches such as potato chips and French fries cling on the teeth much longer than sugary foods such as plain chocolate bars. This means that they have greater potential of causing tooth decay because of the longer period of acid production by the bacteria. Remember that it is not the sugar itself that destroys teeth, but the acid produced by bacteria eating on the carbohydrates stuck to our teeth. Sugar is only one among many sources of carbohydrates that come from our diet. Several studies have also shown that tooth decay is related to the frequency of eating; not just the amount of sugar or starch consumed. Frequent snacking harms the teeth because it reintroduces food particles which feed the bacteria.

What does help is if you brush your teeth immediately. Take extra care not to feed the streptococcus bacteria that live on the plaque on your teeth by brushing your teeth regularly, and if you are at a restaurant and eat something sweet, rinse with a mouthful of water immediately to dilute the sugar or carbohydrate. Brush daily and use a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure your dentist regularly removes plaque and tartar (calculus) that accumulates on your teeth over time. This way you can attack the problem of tooth decay and gum disease at its very source.

According to medical studies, people who consume 800mg of calcium daily have a lower chance of developing cavities, but if you have a high sugar and carbohydrate diet, then you will still get decay. Calcium-rich food includes milk, cheese and yoghurt. Good nutrition certainly will help build stronger teeth and gums, especially when a woman is pregnant, and the baby’s teeth are forming. Whoever thought that family dental care was as easy as getting proper nutrition? By eating a healthy, balanced diet, and brushing and flossing correctly, you can help yourself avoid emergency dental care and ultimately you may save on expensive dental care cost!

Knowing this, we now have a greater understanding of tooth decay and how we can prevent it. Regular brushing and flossing are still the most effective ways for dental care. They clear away food residue and more importantly, the plaque that harbour bacteria. Thus the mechanical disruption and removal of the bacteria starve the bacteria and keep their growth in check. The faster the bacterial plaque and food debris is removed from your mouth, the less chance it will feed the bacteria and cause tooth decay.


Dental Care Can Prevent Disease-Not Just Replace and Repair

October 6, 2009

Dental care is extremely important in maintaining wellness and health. Involving care of the gums, interrelated mouth structures, and early recognition of cancerous lesions, dental care also includes the prevention of future dental disease and repair of damaged teeth. Countless cases have shown that people suffer from dental problems mainly due to lack of proper dental hygiene awareness, excess intake of sugar, and just being plain old lazy in keeping the teeth and gums clean.

Although more commonly associated with children getting cavities, dental disorders are still rampant among adults who tend to ignore proper dental hygiene. For some reason many people fail to understand the importance of healthy gums and teeth in keeping the whole body healthy. For example, we now know that heart disease has been linked to damage on the lining of the coronary arteries from periodontal bacteria and their by products. Insufficient attention to dental health is dangerous not just to our aesthetic presence, but to our over ll well-being.

Studies conducted by dental health professionals in various parts of the world show that poor oral health may also be linked to low-birth weight, stroke, lung disease, heart disease, premature births, and diabetes. This is because many diseases often show their first symptoms in the mouth. The U.S Surgeon General has also agreed that oral and dental health is a strong indicator of overall health and well-being.

Regularly visiting a professional dentist for cleanups and checkups can help prevent dental problems and help maintain optimal dental health. Any person concerned about their well-being and dental health should not wait for a toothache to have to visit a dentist. Dental experts help prevent gum disease through professional dental treatment to avoid decay and gum disease complications like periodontitis. Dental visits also help combat oral cancer, which causes deaths by the hour everyday in the United States alone, as announced by The Oral Cancer Foundation.

Any health-conscious person would want to avoid losing teeth. You may do this by maintaining proper oral hygiene, avoiding sugar, and eating according to good nutritional guidelines. . Expert maintenance, care, and service provided by professional dental experts effectively keep oral hazards at bay. Professional examinations play a vital role in discovering early gum disease. Remember, gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults the world over. Regularly checking up with a dentist could avoid the need for tooth replacement.

Oral problems can usually be avoided by frequently visiting a dentist (at least twice/year). This would make the need for emergency dental care unnecessary. As long as checkups are regularly done with your dentist, an emergency would not arise unless it was due to fracturing a tooth, or the failure of a previous root canalled tooth.  The early detection of dental cavities, gum disease, and broken fillings may be solved with simple dental treatments. However, should these problems go untreated, root canal operations, gum surgery, and teeth extraction might be the only solutions available.

Despite the professional services rendered by dental health care experts, it is still our task to ensure that dental disease doesn’t threaten our overall health. Good oral hygiene must be practiced to maintain a health mouth. Remember, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases of mankind.  It affects many people despite consistent brushing.  That is because many people do not brush correctly, use the wrong type of toothbrush, don’t use dental floss, or don’t use it properly, and eat too much sugar and fructose. So to avoid dental problems, we need to use proper oral hygiene with the right tools (like a properly designed toothbrush with soft bristles, dental floss, and a water irrigator) ourselves, and also go to the dentist for checkups, cleanings, and correction of problems or breakdown.


How To Keep Your Teeth And Mouth Healthy

October 6, 2009

Do you want to know how you can save on thousands of dental cost? Well, the easiest way is also the cheapest – prevention.

Very few people actually realize how important getting regular dental treatment such as teeth cleaning can be. It helps prevent cavities and gum disease from developing which reduces the need for emergency dental care. With fewer facilities offering free dental care, learning to care for your teeth is important especially if you don’t want to face increasing dental care costs.

Now you’re probably asking, “Why is there a need for dental health care?” Well, if you care about your general body health, then you have to start with your mouth and teeth. Did you know that recent researchers have found a connection between cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and gum problems? According to the results, gum problems increase the chances of developing these diseases. Also, people with HIV often suffer at least one oral manifestation during the course of their infection. Dental health care and proper dental hygiene is a necessity but it cannot be learned overnight. In many cases, you will have to teach your children to care for their teeth, and you need to make them understand why. A clean, healthy mouth can also help you keep an attractive smile.

When it comes to dental care, prevention is really better than cure. Dr. Howard B. Marshall also believes in this and has actually written a book which can provide more insights as to how we can take better care of our teeth. Here are a couple of tips he provided: Eat right. Choose a more balanced diet which includes choices from the major food groups. Avoid eating sugary food like candies and chocolates. Remember: In just 20 minutes, bacteria inside your mouth can convert sugar into the acidic material which causes tooth decay.

Teach your child the importance of brushing and dental health care. It will be helpful if you can bring him/her to a family dentist or clinic as early as 2 years old. Not only will dentists teach you and the child the proper way of caring for the child’s teeth, they will also guide you and your child regarding the growth and develop of his/her teeth and jaws. Sometimes, you will need a pedodontist or an orthodontist to correct your child’s bite. It is best that you catch occlusions problems early since these are easier to correct when your child is still young.

Remind your child the importance of adhering to tip#1. Take some time to make them a healthy, sugarless snack which they can bring to school. As adults, you should realize that you are still prone to tooth decay. Even if you brush your teeth every day, you will still need to go for teeth cleaning at least twice a year. This way, you won’t have to go for emergency dental care which is more expensive. Gum diseases has been related to serious disease such as heart disease and diabetes. Prevent gum diseases by asking your dentist to check for periodontal pockets. These can be eliminated with several treatment methods. When pockets are eliminated, so are the bacteria that cause periodontal disease and have been associated with heart disease.