Sugars and Oral Health: Facts and Myths

Brushing and flossing are usually the first two things taught to us as toddlers in order to establish and maintain oral care and hygiene. Unfortunately, most of us stop only at these two measures–we simply eat whatever we want since we brush and floss, anyway.

If you have this mentality, stop right in your tracks. There is so much more to oral care than your regular brushing and flossing. The foods that we eat, for instance, have a heavy influence to whether or not we have a healthy set of teeth. If your knowledge of food and oral care connection is only “Avoid sweets”, read on.

Here are some useful tips to guide you about how your food choices can affect your oral health:

Yes, You CAN Still Eat Sweets

Depriving yourself of cakes, chocolate, and anything sweet simply does not work. If we can’t help but indulge in our favorite sweets regularly, let’s do it anyway–minus the guilt. In order to eat those delicious sweets without having to worry about our oral health, we simply have to get it over and done with as fast as possible. That’s right–eat your sweets swiftly.

Most of us don’t know that eating that bar of chocolate or slice of cake in a gradual manner can actually cause serious damage to our teeth. This is because a steady supply of acids is being produced as the oral cavity detects bite after bite of sweet food. Not only that, but these acids continue to be secreted in the oral cavity 30 minutes after you’re done eating. In order to avoid this gradual, steady stream of damage to your teeth, opt to eat very quickly and brush your teeth afterwards.

Sugar Is Not Only Found in Sweet Food

Let’s say you avoid sweets as much as possible in order to maintain a superb oral health. That’s awesome–only if you avoid overeating bread, bananas, cereal, and crackers, too.

While the foods mentioned above may not be sweet, they also give a great deal of damage to one’s teeth because carb-rich foods are actually broken down into sugar molecules–even while they’re still in the oral cavity. This is not to say you should avoid all carbohydrates, though. Just make sure that you brush your teeth very properly after any prolonged carbohydrate intake.

Another option is to substitute white carbohydrates with whole-grain counterparts. High-fiber and whole-grain varieties of carbohydrates actually don’t break down into those teeth-damaging sugar components, so you’re only taking in fiber for your digestive system by eating brown carbs.

Thinking about one’s oral health simply doesn’t end in brushing, flossing, and avoiding sweets. We actually can maintain a healthy set of teeth without having to avoid sugar-rich foods. Besides, depriving oneself of delicious food leads to binge-eating anyway (causing more serious teeth damage), so might as well go right ahead and eat them. Just make sure that you eat your sweets as quickly as possible and that you choose the healthy carbohydrate varieties so that you’re enjoying your food and taking care of your oral health at the same time.