Sugar doesn’t actually rot your teeth. Well, not directly anyway.
The traditional belief is that consuming sugar will rot your teeth. That belief would be incorrect. What actually rots your teeth is the process that begins in your mouth after eating any carbohydrate; sugar, potatoes or even just bread.
Because sugary foods are usually high in carbohydrates, sugar tends to take all the blame. But when it comes to your dental health, eating cake is about as bad for you as that packet of chips.
This is because your mouth produces acid-causing bacteria that feast on leftover particles of carbohydrates in your mouth. The bacteria live on the teeth as plaque and produce acid as a by- product during this process through fermentation. This acid is what eventually rots your teeth as it dissolves your enamel, leading to tooth decay. When you eat food that tends to leave particles behind, like cake or candy, the bacteria in your mouth has a field day feasting on it.
What can you do about it?
• Since avoiding carbohydrates completely is not a feasible option, brushing your teeth after you eat is a good way to minimize the chances of tooth decay. It is important to brush your teeth properly and floss to get to any particles that may be lodged between your teeth. If you are unable to brush your teeth every time you eat, then remember that carbohydrates that cling to your teeth caused the most damage. These are cooked starches like potato chips which are more harmful to your teeth than a regular bar of chocolate.
• Pay attention to how long you spend eating foods that are bad for your health. Eating a chocolate bar in ten minutes is possibly better than sipping on a sugary drink for 3 hours. This is because the longer you consume foods high in sugar or carbohydrates, the more time these foods have to feed into the acidic environment in your mouth.
• Try not to eat too many meals in the day. Dentists recommend you eat just 3 regular meals to minimize tooth decay. If you feel like you need to snack during the day, choose foods that are healthy for your teeth like nuts and vegetables. Even sources of protein like cheese and meat are good for your dental health, so choose them over a granola bar loaded with sugar.
It is important to remember that when it comes to dental health—you are what you eat. Your food choices can go a long way to maintaining good oral health. Pay attention not just to what you eat, but how and when you eat it too!