You Are What You Eat- Which Sweets Are Best?
The saying “you are what you eat” stems back to the 1800s and is still used today as a reminder of the importance of a well-balanced diet. What we put into our bodies has a direct impact on how we function; what we eat also has a direct impact on our teeth. The mouth serves as the entry way for food, where it is initially broken down by the teeth and tasted by the salivary glands located on the tongue. Because teeth play an essential role in your life, it is important to keep them in mind when picking which sweet snacks to indulge in.
The general rule when it comes to sweets is: the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candy can get stuck in tiny grooves of the teeth, making it much harder to clean. Luckily, our saliva is 98% water and functions to break down food and clean away debris. Saliva is better at washing away chocolates and ice creams that melt much easier than candies. Since these sweets don’t stick as long, bacteria also does not stay on the tooth surface as long – making the development of cavities more difficult.
Sour candies may sometimes fall into the sticky category and are also acidic. This increased acidity does not only cause external wear on the enamel, but provides an environment where bacteria can strive. This acidic environment, also created by fruits such as lemon, leads to an increase in tooth decay.
Hidden sugars in your diet have a large impact on your teeth without you even realizing them. These can be found in drinks, such as juices or coffees, and fruits, which are a healthy snack option. Prevent cavities by drinking water after a sugary drink or limiting intake to one sitting with a meal instead of sipping throughout the day.
The good news is that not all sweets are bad! Sugar free candies, such as lollipops and some chewing gums, stimulate saliva and help maintain a cleaner mouth. These candies are made using a natural ingredient called Xylitol. Xylitol is a refined sweetener which bacteria is unable to metabolize – therefore, the bacteria cannot produce the acid that causes cavities. CAUTION: xylitol is toxic to our furry friends, keep xylitol products out of their reach.
Are you worried about the amount of sugar in your diet? Schedule an appointment with us for a comprehensive exam, including x-rays to check for existing cavities, a cleaning to remove debris, and fluoride application to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. Call River Oaks Dental at 904.348.0416, or send an appointment request through the button at the bottom of this page.