Cup of Coffee

Sip and Snack All Day? Risk Tooth Decay

Do you sip on soda, sport drinks, coffee or tea with milk and sugar all day? Do you suck on breath mints or candy? Do you snack all day instead of eating meals? When you are tired, do you grab a soda, energy or sports drink? Do you drink fruit juices including 100% juice? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be more susceptible to cavities.

Sugar in your favorite beverages

Tap Water: 1 cup: 0 grams of sugar

Sweet Tea: 1 cup: 12 grams of sugar

Energy Drink: 1 can: 25 grams of sugar

Regular Sports Drink: 1 bottle: 30 grams of sugar

Regular Soda: 1 can: 33 grams of sugar

Fruit Smoothie with Yogurt: 1 cup: 34 grams of sugar

Blended Cold Cappuccino Drink: 1 medium/grande: 44 grams of sugar

Frequency and time of exposure of certain food choices can lead to tooth erosion and cavities. A steady supply or sugary food and drinks can damage your teeth. Even healthy snacks like dried fruits and oranges can raise your risk of erosion and cavities.

Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria and food particles that forms on teeth. The bacteria in plaque create acid from eating the sugars found in the food and drink you eat. When you have sugary foods or drinks throughout the day, the enamel of your teeth is exposed to acid attack. Enamel is the hard, outer surface of your teeth. The acid is greatest for up to 20 minutes after eating and drinking. The enamel will eventually wear away from repeated acid exposure to start to create a cavity in the tooth.

A healthy well- balanced diet includes whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein from lean meats, low in saturated fats, sodium and sugar. It may also improve your chances of avoiding diseases like heart disease, diabetes and oral diseases like cavities. Teeth need vitamins, protein, calcium and phosphorous from a healthy diet to be healthy. All sugars can not be avoided. For instance, apples, carrots and milk contain naturally occurring sugars but also contain beneficial vitamins, minerals and nutrients for your body.

You can lower your risk for cavities by avoiding sugary drinks when possible and limiting snacks between meals. If you have sugary foods and drinks, it is best to have them with a meal. Saliva weakens the effects of acid and rinses the food particles from your mouth. Chewing sugarless gum has been shown to increase saliva production and weaken acids thereby reducing cavities. Drinking tap water with fluoride can help prevent cavities. Regular brushing and flossing are part of good oral hygiene routine. Regular visits to the dentist for a check-up and these other measures help reduce your risk for cavities.

~Post by Dr. Yassamin Dorosti, DDS

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