Need a Sugar or Carb Fix? Don’t Forget Your Water!

February 8, 2012 12:40 pm Published by

Your mother was right.  Sugar is bad for your teeth.  Like it or not, that fact doesn’t change the older you get.  We’ve seen many adult patients who are relatively cavity-free for years suddenly develop new cavities.   The reason?  Most likely, it’s because they’ve been eating more sugar.  Chocolate, candy, cakes, soda and ice cream are not the only culprits.  Sugar also comes from foods we consider good for us, like fresh fruit, juices or honey.  Complex carbohydrates like potatoes, pasta and bread become the simplest form of sugar – glucose – once you digest them, and they also can wreak havoc on your teeth.

Far be it from us to suggest that you avoid sugar or starch completely.  Rather, consider adopting a few new habits when you indulge.  Mom may have always told you to eat slowly, but when consuming sugar or complex carbs, it’s actually better to eat more in a shorter time.  (Sorry, Mom.)  So, if you’re inclined to savor sweets until they literally melt in your mouth or snack on crackers throughout the day, don’t.  The longer these foods stay in your mouth, the greater the potential for cavities.

Once you’ve gotten your sugar or starch fix, remember to clean your teeth.  While flossing and brushing are the gold standard, they’re not always practical.  If you’re on the go or don’t have a toothbrush, floss or mouthwash handy, no worries.  Simply drink a mouthful of water.  And, if you’re partial to fruit juices, water will also clean the citric acid they leave behind on your teeth.  Water isn’t just a convenient way to clean your teeth, it’s also essential for daily nutrition (the recommended average for adults is 50 ounces per day), so you’re getting a double benefit.

By making these simple changes, you can enjoy your favorite sweets and carbs while reducing your potential for cavities.  Mom will be so happy.

–Mary Di Landro

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This post was written by Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman