Sugar isn’t bad per say. In fact many things are broken down into sugar in the body and we need it to function. Take a potato for example, the starch will eventually be broken into a type of sugar after digestion. The key is the frequency and type of sugar you consume throughout the day. The general rule is to keep sugary snacks or foods to 3 or less time in a day and to try and pair it with a meal time, not on its own. This limits the amount of acid excreted onto your teeth and allows your teeth time to help recover by rebuilding the tooth’s molecules it lost, to some extent. Basically give your mouth a chance to recover and you will be okay. What else can you do to keep sugar from ruining your oral health? Here are some quick fire tips.
1. Eat foods containing sugar in their true form. For example eat an apple whole, don’t blend/smoothie it. When you blend a fruit you release the sugar from inside its cells and this means there is more sugar available to the bacteria in your mouth. By eating it whole the sugar gets released in your stomach rather than your mouth.
2. Eat cheese after a sweet snack. Cheese is a natural acidity neutraliser meaning it can help speed up the hardening and help reduce the length of time sugar effects your mouth (don’t eat too much cheese though as it’s very high in fat!!).
3. Rinse out with a fluoride mouthwash after a sugar snack to help strengthen the teeth. Fluoriguard by Colgate is great! Very important to note however that brushing your teeth is a no go. Your teeth are slightly softer after sugar and brushing your teeth straight after eating will remove a micron layer of tooth surface. Wait at least 30 minutes.
4. Clean your teeth twice a day but particularly before bed with both an electric tooth brush and also some interdental brushes such as Tepes. If we break up that plaque we have less chance of getting gum disease and decay.
5. The occasional fizzy drink is okay in moderation but to minimise damage, why not drink it through a straw? This means the acidic carbonation directly passes your teeth straight into your stomach. Yes, plain fizzy water is still damaging even if it doesn’t contain sugar – those bubbles, they are carbonic acid!!
6. If you drink squash, make sure it’s not one containing added sugar. There are many non-sugar sweetened alternatives. If you don’t like the sweetened versions then try to gradually dilute the concentration of squash so you reduce your sugar intake.