As an adult, it’s easy to dismiss sugar as a problem for children’s teeth. After all, how many times have you seen your boss storming around the office with an oversized lollipop or a pocketful of jelly beans?
Actually, no one is completely safe from the effects of sugar. Sugar and acids erode tooth enamel, making you more prone to cavities and stained teeth.
In addition to scheduling professional cleaning and regular visits for preventive dentistry MA, Dr. Janice Spada, Sudbury MA dentist, encourages you to understand that sugary threats are everywhere.
Even Medicines Can Contain Sugar
Take cough drops and lozenges, for example. Like hard candy, these seemingly harmless morsels actually bathe your teeth and gums in sticky sugar that lingers long after the drop has dissolved.
You’ll also find sugar in most over-the-counter and prescription liquid medications. Bubble gum packs loads of sugar. If you chew gum, opt for products that list the sweetener xylitol in place of sugar.
Sip Sugary Drinks Through a Straw
Adults’ high sugar intake often stems from their consumption of certain beverages, including soda, bottled iced teas, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Think diet sodas pose any less threat to your teeth? Think again, says Dr. Spada.
Although diet colas do not contain as much sugar as their full-calorie counterparts, all soda contains carbonation and phosphoric acid, both of which erode your tooth enamel. Energy drinks and sports drinks tend to be even more acidic, and they often contain more sugar than soda.
Even bottled lemonade and teas pack a wallop of sweeteners. Although it’s best to avoid these drinks altogether, you can minimize the damage to your teeth ever so slightly by drinking through a straw.
Fruits Contain Sugar, Too
If fruit is an integral part of a balanced and healthy diet, surely fruit juice is just as good for you, right? Not quite. Unlike whole fruits, fruit juices often contain added sugar and acids, and they don’t have nearly as much fiber.
As with sodas, drinking fruit juice through a straw will subject your teeth to less of the sugary liquid. After drinking fruit juice, try rinsing your mouth with plain water for 30 seconds. Citrus juices, such as lemonade, lime drinks, and orange juice, are highly acidic.
Do not brush your teeth for at least half an hour after eating or drinking citrus, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush. The natural acids in citrus temporarily weaken the enamel, and brushing could cause further damage.
Citrus fruits aren’t the only sources for potentially damaging acidity. Although you can continue to enjoy these acidic foods, it’s best to avoid sucking on them or savoring them for long periods.
Examples of acidic foods include pickles, honey, and foods made with tomatoes, such as soups, pasta sauces, and pizza sauce. If left in the mouth too long, even the acidity in wine can damage your tooth enamel.
Diet, not just oral hygiene, affects the health of your teeth. To learn more about preventive dentistry in Sudbury, MA, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janice Spada, contact our office at (978) 443-3111. We welcome patients living in and around Boston, including Worcester, Framingham, Marlborough, and the neighboring communities.