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Don’t Sip and Snack All Day. It Increases the Risk of Tooth Decay!

Posted under Dental Health Tips on June 25th, 2013 | No Comments
Dont-Sip-and-Snack-All-Day

From my last blog, I mentioned that I have many patients from the Morgan Hill-based bicycle manufacturing company. I have many bikers in the office—hence the bike parking spaces and rack designed just for them. The patients from this company are all bikers. They take care of their body, and of course, they also take care of their teeth. They know the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. But many of them still get cavities. Why? I have done some investigation.

After talking to them, I learned that they sip and snack all day long. Eating habits and food choices can lead to tooth decay. A steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including sports drinks, can damage teeth. Snacking throughout the day (or “grazing”) can also lead to tooth decay.

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria. When you do not remove plaque from your teeth daily, it builds up.  Plaque bacteria use sugar to produce acids that attack enamel, the hard surface of the tooth. This acid attacks tooth enamel for up to 20 minutes after you eat or drink. When you have sugary foods or drinks many times a day or sip on the same sugary drink for a long period of time, the acid attacks your tooth enamel again and again. Repeated acid attacks cause tooth decay.

Here are six tips to help reduce your risk of tooth decay:

  • If you have sugary foods and drinks, have them with meals.
  • Limit sugary drinks and snacks between meals. Remember, many sports drinks have sugar, too. If you do snack, choose foods that are low in sugar and fat.
  • Chew sugarless gum that has the ADA seal. Chewing gum for 20 minutes after meals has been shown to reduce tooth decay. It does this because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize acid.
  • Drink water. Drinking water with fluoride can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • See Dr. Andrew Huang and Dr. Ann regularly.