Did you know that tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in children and adolescents in America? Yes, proper oral hygiene can help prevent this, but one of the biggest contributing factors to dental decay is in the foods and drinks we consume. When carbohydrates (including sugars) are combined with plaque (bacteria in the mouth), an acid is produced which will attack the teeth and eat away at the enamel, causing a cavity.
Here’s an important fact. It’s actually not the amount of carbs that cause decay, it’s the frequency of times your teeth are exposed. Sodas, juices, sweetened tea or coffee, and sports drinks are among the most common culprits. Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes and starts over with each bite or sip you take. If you are continuously sipping or eating throughout the day, your saliva is unable to neutralize the pH in your mouth and your teeth are being constantly bombarded with harmful acids. If you eat or drink a lot of carbs during a meal, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, that’s continuous exposure and is much more unhealthy for your teeth.
It is important to never drink juice or soda before bedtime and to brush and floss after acid exposures. Drinking water or chewing sugar-free gum after drinking or snacking can also help in cavity prevention. Make sure to visit our office regularly so that any problem areas can be addressed early!