Published on December 20, 2017, Updated on December 20, 2017
Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your body, it can wreak havoc on your smile. You can enjoy the fun of the holiday season by remembering to eat sweets in moderation. Too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and other health issues. Practice dedicated oral hygiene habits to protect your teeth from the dangers of sweets and help your children to do the same!
We all love a sugary sweet treat of some kind during the holidays. Some people look forward to warm pies straight from the oven while others can’t wait to make cookies for Santa. Stockings get stuffed with candy and the season is full of making treats to give to others. The holiday season may be the biggest season for sugar ever, but what does that mean for your health and your teeth? Sugar is taking the world by storm. It is in most foods you eat and many of the drinks you consume, even if it isn’t needed. Most processed foods have sugar and most people can’t get through the day without it.
Americans are consuming way more sugar than they should. Studies show that the average American consumes around 80 grams of sugar a day. That equates to about 20 teaspoons of sugar. A soft drink alone may contain 60 grams of sugar, which can be incredibly damaging to your health and your teeth. Sugar is not an essential nutrient or even a substance that your body needs. The daily added-sugar limit should be 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. That’s 36 grams of sugar for men and 25 for women. Children should consume even less sugar each day:
If you check food labels, you’ll find that just one food bar or drink can put you or your child well over their sugar limit. Too much sugar leads to weight gain, obesity (even in children), a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and many chronic health conditions. Sugar can also destroy your teeth. You must protect your teeth from the sugar onslaught all year long and especially throughout the holidays. Sugar is so concerning because it mixes with bacteria in your mouth to form a sticky, acidic substance we call plaque. Acids of any kind are bad for your teeth, as they erode your tooth enamel.
Plaque sits on your teeth and erodes away your tooth enamel over time, despite how hard your teeth are. If you brush and floss your teeth often, you can protect your teeth from erosion. However, if you don’t brush or floss enough, that plaque will sit on your teeth and lead to tooth decay, also known as cavities. When plaque erodes enough enamel away, it can seep inside your teeth, causing rapid tooth decay. The more sugar you consume, the more plaque your mouth makes and the higher your risk is for tooth decay. With so many sweet treats during the holidays, you must be extra vigilant and protect your teeth through proper and frequent oral hygiene habits.
Keeping your teeth healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it only takes a few minutes a day to protect your teeth and reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day to keep them healthy. This is a basic guideline that you can definitely exceed. In fact, we encourage you to brush your teeth several times a day or even after every meal. Simply take 60 seconds and brush your teeth with toothpaste. We also recommend flossing your teeth everyday to remove food that has become stuck between your teeth.
These two simple habits will significantly protect your teeth from getting cavities and will help you keep your teeth for many years. Sometimes, small cavities start to form. The way to detect them before they become a problem is to come visit us at least twice a year, especially after the holidays. We can detect cavities when they are teeny-tiny and can fix them before extensive damage happens to your teeth. We can also help you avoid cavities even more with a fluoride treatment that can help strengthen and protect your teeth.
When you know more about your teeth, the better you are able to take care of them and keep them healthy. Many people eat foods and drink sodas without thinking twice about their teeth. During the holidays, the focus is on family, religious observance and holiday traditions. You don’t have to spend too much time thinking about your teeth if you have good oral health habits established. They will begin to become second nature to you. If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your teeth during the holidays and all year long, we can help! Call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!