Everybody loves sugar in every form, candies, ice creams, sodas and cola, sweets, mithai, milkshakes and every other savory you may think of. But lately, there has been a great movement towards good health and most of it is in the domain of health foods. One of the most important parts of this movement is the fact that we need to kick the craving for sugar.
Sugar is bad for your health. It’s a well-known fact that sugar causes tooth decay. It is important to highlight this because tooth decay unlike most other diseases, is completely preventable. We can kick tooth decay away if we can kick sugar away!
To help you do this, we have collated a few tips and tricks to avoid consumption of sugar and hence try to avoid tooth decay and cavities .
What you must know about dental cavities and tooth decay…
The primary reason for Dental decay is our food habits (i.e. things we eat and drink). Sweet savories like chocolate, sweets, mithai, candies, sodas, colas and aerated drinks, ice creams, sugared fruit drinks and juices and other foods containing excess sugar generate acids which form plaque.
Plaque is a sticky compound that gradually erodes the enamel (the protective coating on the tooth) and then destroys the dentine (the primary tooth structure).
Plaque, when allowed to accumulate on the surfaces of the teeth, causes the acid in the plaque to destroy the enamel and dentin to cause decay. This can cause pits and depressions known as cavities, as well as gum disease, and in severe cases abscesses and tooth loss.
All processed foods contain added sugars or hidden sugar. This is a serious threat to our teeth. The probability of dental decay is directly proportional to the sugar that you consume.
There are no early symptoms or signs of dental decay. The only way to identify decay early is through a professional oral examination or checkups by a dentist. The surfaces of the teeth that are the most often and are exposed maximum to sugary food are the biting surfaces and hence they are the most vulnerable to dental decay and cavities.
Having a lot of sugar-containing foods and drinks frequently can increase the probability of dental decay and cavities because your teeth come under a persistent and continuous attack and do not have the time to recover from the acid attack of the plaque.
Nearly three in four (79%) of adults in India have had a tooth removed. This would mean millions of people with one or more missing teeth which affect their dietary habits and hence their health.
Most people visit the dentist or a dental clinic only when they experience unbearable pain. The statistic is as bad as three to four dental visits in a lifetime for most people. Due to the lack of awareness and lack of regular dental checkups, dental decay is never diagnosed in the early stages and the disease progresses very rapidly.
According to some survey statistics, a child in India loses a rotten tooth every ten minutes. It’s a serious matter since the loss of teeth causes malnutrition and hence spoils the overall health of the child.
Five tips for preventing tooth decay
One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is by brushing your teeth thoroughly before bedtime and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
The easiest, best, and most effective habit to prevent tooth decay is regular brushing of your teeth using a good (not worn out) toothbrush with fluoride releasing toothpaste. You must brush your teeth at least twice a day and it is also recommended to clean and gargle after every meal to ensure no food gets deposited and stays on your teeth to aid plaque formation.
It is very important to gargle or clean or your teeth after eating any sugary food.
Ensure that your brush reaches the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth and mouth.
Using ‘interdental’ brushes, dental floss, tape and other dental aids that help to remove plaque and food from spaces in between your teeth and also space where the gums meet your teeth. These are areas where an ordinary toothbrush is difficult to reach.
Visit the dentist at a professional dental clinic every 6 months. This is important because only a professional can identify early stages of dental decay and cavities at which decay can be arrested or stopped. This way dental treatment is easier, quicker and one avoid painful and expensive dental procedures in the future.
Replace sugar-containing foods and drinks with nutritious and healthy alternatives that are low in sugar content. Frequent snacking should be avoided since you may not clean your teeth after every short snack and hence allow the plaque to build-up on the teeth thereby aiding dental decay.
One habit that Dr. Ankita Dedhia BDS, Dental Director at Sabka Dentist, recommends to ensure that you read the ingredients all the products you choose and identify the ones which have “-ose” in the name since they are generally forms of sugar e.g. sucrose, maltose, fructose, glucose, lactose, and dextrose. Try to choose a product where these ingredients are minimal.
Sabka Dentist Dental Clinic conducts more than 15,000 dental checkups every month and provides more than 5000 tooth cavity filling, 2000 root canals, and more than 2000 dental crowns or caps. These are numbers which are primarily due to high decay of teeth and can be avoided by healthy oral care habits.
Dr. Reena Waghela BDS, Dental Director at Sabka Dentist, said: “Dental Decay is the result of a changing food habit which is high in sugar content and is a serious concern.”
Dr. Reena also says “I strongly recommend that people develop and maintain a good oral hygiene routine, which would mean brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. This is very important, and we also urge every parent to supervise your child’s brushing, to ensure they learn a good habit for life.With regard to children’s oral health in India, tooth decay is the number one reason for dental problems in children regularly consuming too much sugar is a major cause of this. We think this is very serious and urgently need to look at reducing childhood sugar intake. Much of this sugar is taken in the form of snacks like chocolate, sugary drinks, mithai, and other savories. Try and limit your children’s snacking to no more than two a day and replace unhealthy sugary snacks with healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables. The fact that the costs of dealing with this problem have risen by a third in the last decade is completely unsustainable and by implementing effective education early enough the government can drastically reduce this cost and also prevent the pain and suffering of tens of thousands of children every year.”