The newsLINK Group - Sugar, Plaque, and Tooth Decay

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | General Dentistry Topics: Dental, Sugar and Teeth Title: Sugar, Plaque, and Tooth Decay Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Your teeth, and your family’s teeth, can decay if any of you eat foods that contain any kind of sugar. In the early stages, tooth decay usually means development of cavities and it may also involve eroded enamel on teeth. Editorial: Sugar, Plaque, and Tooth Decay 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Your teeth, and your family’s teeth, can decay if any of you eat foods that contain any kind of sugar. In the early stages, tooth decay usually means development of cavities and it may also involve eroded enamel on teeth. The decay occurs because sugar is a favorite food of the bacteria that forms sticky plaque on teeth. If you or your children don’t get rid of the plaque by brushing, flossing, and rinsing, the plaque makes it easier for cavities to develop. The plaque bacteria feed off the sugar in your foods and drinks, and then produce acid as a byproduct. The acid destroys the enamel outer layer on your teeth and makes your teeth vulnerable to the development of cavities. It’s challenging enough for an adult to fight plaque. (Who hasn’t had the regular six-month conveugarsation about the importance of flossing more frequently and how this time you are really, truly, going to be more conscientious about it?) For your children, however, the challenge is even bigger, because they are still learning the process of cleaning their teeth, and it can be difficult to help them be thorough enough, regularly enough. It’s important that you try anyway. In addition to encouraging the development of cavities, plaque byproducts are irritating to your gums. When the plaque is in contact with the gums for an extended period of time, the gums can become red, sensitive, and more prone to bleeding. If the irritation continues for too long, individuals can develop gum disease, which is one of the main reasons adults lose teeth. Gum disease develops when gum tissue pulls back from the teeth in an attempt to avoid irritation. The resulting pockets are filled with bacteria and pus. Without treatment, gum disease destroys the bones around the teeth and causes them to loosen. It may even be necessary to pull the loosened teeth. This is an unpleasant experience for an adult. You certainly don’t want your children to go through it. As a result of the role that sugar plays in developing tooth decay, people have turned to sugar-free alternatives in the hope that they can still enjoy sweet foods without paying a penalty at the dentist’s office later. But it’s almost impossible to avoid sugar entirely, because almost all foods contain it: milk, grains (breads and cereals), and fruits and vegetables. And even if you could avoid sugar entirely, you shouldn’t. Foods contain more than sugar, they also contain important nutrients that the human body uses to stay healthy and strong. However, you should definitely keep an eye on how much sugar you, and especially your children, are eating. Read food labels. Choose foods and drinks that don’t have a lot of added sugars. In particular, avoid sugary foods or drinks such as soft drinks and any sweets: candy, cookies, or pastries. Sources: “The effect of diet and nutrition on oral health,” by Nayda Rondon, no date, article emailed to me by Sophie Word Count: 473 Copyscape Clear Date: 12.15.2014

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