Thursday, July 3, 2014

Which Comes First, Sugar or the Cavity?

Did you say false?  Sounds confusing right?  

According to an article in The New York Times entitled:  The Claim:  More Sugar Leads to More Cavities, Anahad O'Connor shares that the amount of sugar you eat has less of an impact on cavities than the way you consume the sugar.

The article states, "Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that line the teeth feed onsimple sugars, creating acid that destroys enamel. When you eat something sweet, it takes the bacteria about 20 seconds to convert it to acid, which then lasts for about 30 minutes.
That means that a can of soda is a lot less harmful to your teeth when consumed in a few minutes instead of over a couple hours with repeated sips, said Carole Palmer, a professor of public health and community service at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
“Every time you present sugar to the bacteria, you’ll get acid formation,” said Dr. Palmer, who recently published a paper exploring dental myths in the journal Nutrition Today. “The things that are going to increase the risk of decay would not be the total amount of sugar at all, but what your feeding pattern is like. Are you someone that’s constantly sipping? Do you get one soda and keep it on your desk all afternoon? Do you get a cup of coffee with sugar and sip it all morning?”
For the same reason, many dentists advise parents not to use spill-resistant sippy cups too often, which have been linked in some studies to tooth decay in toddlers.
Dr. Palmer points out that it’s not just sugar, but anything with acid, like diet soda. One study even found that sour candy was significantly more destructive to tooth enamel than regular, sweet candy because of its acid levels.
THE BOTTOM LINE Small amounts of sugar eaten frequently increase cavities more than large amounts eaten infrequently."
While we do not advocate increasing the amount of sugar in your diet, we do encourage you to think about your consumption habits.  Exposing your teeth over long periods of time without brushing puts you at an increase for cavity production.  Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your drawer at work and brush after lunch.  Have sugar free gum available, preferably with Xylitol, to curb those afternoon cravings.  These small steps make a big difference over time.
Please call us if you have any concerns about cavities. The sooner you treat them, the better it is for your teeth and your pocketbook!
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