Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire IL
Throughout your life, you may have been told that sugar is dangerous for your teeth and causes cavities. Now that you are older, you may be exposing your children to the same thing your parents told you about the relationship between sugar and cavities. However, to better understand the connection between the two, your leading dentists in Lake Forest, Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt are sharing whether sugar really is the cause of cavities.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a hole in the enamel of your tooth created by acid secretions from oral bacteria. The sticky substance generated during the digestive process when consuming food is plaque. The build-up of plaque on your teeth leads to tooth decay and results in a cavity. If you fail to treat plaque, you could have a hole in your tooth deep enough to reach the tooth roots exposing nerve endings, resulting in excruciating pain. Your Lake Forest general dentists warn that if the condition remains, you could need a root canal to repair the damage, or you may lose the tooth entirely.
Does sugar cause cavities?
In short, no. Sugar is not solely responsible for creating cavities. However, the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and secrete acids that attack your tooth enamel, causing cavities. Therefore, the more sugar you consume, the more harm bacteria can do to your teeth and gums, including gum disease and tooth loss. In general, consuming sugar every so often or even once a day isn’t really going to cause cavities. It’s the frequency of your sugar consumption that increases the risk of cavities. For instance, sipping on soda all day is more damaging to your teeth than eating a sweet treat once.
Some dentists may go to an extreme and tell you to completely give up sugar to protect your oral health and prevent cavities. Unfortunately, in the age of processed and pre-packaged foods where sugar is the main ingredient, avoiding sugar could be incredibly difficult for some patients. Therefore, your friendly family dentists in Lake Forest recommend following the advice of the American Dental Association (ADA) to prevent cavities. By brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing your teeth once a day, and visiting your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings, you could reduce your risk of developing cavities caused by sugar. If you are not where you have immediate access to a toothbrush and toothpaste, rinsing with a sugar-free mouthwash or chewing a stick of sugar-free gum after consuming sugar to remove most of the harmful bacteria. However, these suggestions should not be a permanent replacement for good oral hygiene.
Adults Versus Children
As an adult, it can be easier to control your dental regimen and eating habits. With a few alterations to your daily habits, you can experience better oral health results. However, when it comes to children, it can be more challenging. By encouraging your child to consume less sugar-filled foods and drinks, you can help control the harmful bacteria produced that cause tooth damage and other helpful health benefits. Your professional dentists at Lake Forest Smiles recommend establishing solid oral hygiene habits, while your children are young. Therefore, your child’s oral care can lead to less expensive dental bills and better oral health as an adult.
Dentists in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire
Even though sugar is sweet and our tongues dance when consuming it, significant damage can occur to your teeth, gums, and overall health when consumed in excess. Reducing your sugar intake, maintaining a good oral health regimen, and regularly visiting your dentist can help keep the harmful bacteria to a minimum and result in fewer cavities. If you have questions about how sugar and cavities are related or need a checkup or cleaning, feel free to contact Lake Forest Smiles by calling (847) 234-4800 or contact us online today.