Summer is here, and so is the ice cream! What better way to spend an Iowa summer than hanging out by the pool with some popsicles, a double scoop, or maybe a refreshing, cold soda?
Unfortunately, your teeth don’t feel the same way about the summertime. This is because, for your mouth, summer is a season of war between tooth-eroding acids and your enamel-building saliva. And guess what? Sugar is fuel for the enemy.
Sure, everyone knows that sugar can be bad for your teeth. The problem is it tastes so good. So, how exactly does sugar contribute to tooth decay, and is there anything we can do to fight it so we can still enjoy the occasional waffle cone? First, let’s look at how cavities form and how sugar contributes to the cavity forming process. Next, we’ll have some tips to help you keep your smile looking beautiful all summer long.
How Cavities Form?
If you’re a clean freak, we have bad news for you. You have a dirty mouth. A dirty mouth filled to the brim with bacteria. Before you break out the soap and start scrubbing, understand that many of these bacteria are actually good for you and you need them to be healthy. On the other hand, there are plenty of harmful bacteria in there as well. These bad bacteria use sugar as fuel to create acids which eat away at the outer layer of your tooth.
Think of how termites can eat through wood over time, creating lots of damage that can eventually make the wood useless. The acid produced by bacteria is doing something similar. As the acids eat through your teeth, they can cause a lot of pain, and worse, permanent damage. The process of acids eroding your enamel is called demineralization.
Like we said at the beginning, though, summertime is a war in your mouth. On the opposing side of the harmful bacteria are the good guys—saliva. Yep, your spit is the hero of this story.
Saliva contains calcium and other minerals that your mouth uses to rebuild your teeth and keep them healthy. The problem is, they can only do so much damage control. The more sugar you have in your mouth, the more fuel bacteria have to produce more acid—and this makes work difficult for your saliva to the point where it can’t keep up.
Tips for Preventing Cavities
The easy solution to this is the standard dentist answer—eat less sugar! Of course, it can be difficult to avoid sweets all the time. That’s why we have the standard dentist answer number two: brush every day. You don’t have to wait until morning or night to do it either. Brushing immediately after eating something sugary can go a long way to keeping excess sugar out of your mouth, so the harmful bacteria have little to feed on. If you can’t brush right away, rinsing your mouth out with water can help as well.
Lastly, if you’re experiencing any tooth pain or suspect you might have a cavity, make an appointment with us. The sooner, the better so we can catch the cavity before it gets too far out of hand.
Don’t let acid and cavities win the war in your mouth this year. Give your teeth a fighting chance so they can live to see another summer as perfect as your smile. Book an appointment with Iowa Pediatric Dental Center online now!