Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth loss around the world. The statistics are so alarming; around 91% of Americans have experienced it at some point in their lives!
Tooth decay not only causes excruciating pain, but may also lead to you having a toothless if not treated on time. And while cavities and other forms of decay are more prevalent among children, they can happen to anyone, regardless of the age.
The reason they affect children more than adults is due to the former group’s high sugar intake. Let’s see how this works.
What is tooth decay?
When one consumes food that comprises too many acids, a sticky substance called plaque starts accumulating on the surface of their teeth. This plaque is home to all sorts of bacteria which then attack the tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel is the hard outer covering which protects the inner part of your teeth. Once this is destroyed, the sensitive areas of your teeth are exposed.
This demineralization and the subsequent holes it creates in the structure of the tooth are known as cavities.
Some of the most common symptoms of tooth decay are pain, increased sensitivity, noticeable pits, and an inability to eat and smile properly.
How sugary foods affect your teeth
According to the American Dental Association, sugar is one of the 9 foods that are extremely harmful to your oral health. By sugary foods, we mean candies, sticky sweets, fizzy drinks, and citric juices.
To begin with, bacteria feed on sugar. Plaque is formed when bacteria break sugar particles down. This plaque, in combination with the acid they produce, erodes tooth enamel and weakens its overall structure.
This worsens when either carbohydrates or sugary foods get stuck in between the teeth, owing to poor oral hygiene. The longer plaque is in contact with the teeth, the greater the damage it causes.
What can you do?
Apart from limiting your sugar intake, there are a number of steps you can take to safeguard your teeth from decay:
- Always use a straw when consuming a sugary drink, so the contact between the sugar and your teeth is kept to a minimum.
- Floss your teeth regularly and use an inter-dental cleaner to clear up the spaces in between.
- If you’ve consumed anything that’s sweet, wait for at least an hour before you brush your teeth. Acid tends to weaken the enamel which makes it susceptible to erosion if immediately brushed.
- Leave it to the professionals. Visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups and professional teeth cleaning.
Don’t risk your oral health because you’re lazy to see a dentist. At West Hills Smiles, we are home to a team of some of the most well experienced general dentistry practitioners. We also offer emergency dental services irrespective of the time of the day. Book an appointment now.