As much as you wanted your mom to be wrong when you were growing up and wanted candy, she was partially right about the sugar, but she was also partially wrong. What your mom probably understood better than you did, was that bacteria in your mouth causes cavities and not brushing your teeth properly would allow that bacteria to stay in your mouth. Therefore, eating too much sugar would create bacteria and it would require extra effort to remove all of the sugar from your mouth, such as brushing thoroughly and properly twice a day along with flossing. Most kids just don’t take care of their teeth that well so mom was just doing her job.
The reason sugar is especially bad is that sugar enhances the growth of unhealthy bacteria in a person’s mouth. There are many types of bacteria that thrive in a person’s mouth and there are certain bacteria that multiply and grow more rapidly when a person consumes too much sugar. The sugar enhances the build-up of bacteria creating a sticky layer called plaque. If proper oral hygiene is neglected that plaque will begin to accumulate and harden over time. This creates a perfect hiding spot for bacteria which stimulates the growth of cavities.
When you eat, food gets caught in between teeth and sugary foods tend to be stickier, therefore, harder to remove. Bacteria are attracted to the sugars that are stuck in between teeth. This produces sugar acids that begin to react with the enamel on a person’s tooth creating tiny pores or holes, opening a gateway for sugar acid and bacteria to get into the dentin. The dentin is even softer than the enamel and is much less resistant to the bacteria. Once the dentin has been breached, the bacteria will begin to attack the inner most layer of a tooth where the nerve cells are located. This painful “tooth ache” indicates a cavity.
So, back to mom…she wasn’t technically right about sugar causing cavities. She was just a good mom knowing very few kids use proper dental care. The best way to prevent cavities is to brush twice daily, once in the morning and right before bedtime, after you have finished eating and drinking anything other than water. Also, thoroughly flossing before brushing your teeth before bedtime can loosen and remove any food particles which are stuck in and around your teeth. Removing the stuck particles can prevent the build-up that leads to plaque formation, which helps to prevent cavities.
The most important part of good dental health care and maintenance is twice yearly visits to the dentist. If you are looking for a dentist that makes patients’ dental health a priority, call Lynn Dental Care today. Dr. Lynn specializes in preventative dentistry and many other specialty areas.