Thanks to years of education from parents, teachers, dental hygienists, and dentists, most of us are aware that eating candy and drinking sugary drinks can contribute to tooth decay. For those who enjoy the taste of sugar, satisfying their sweet tooth can lead not only to cavities, but also to feelings of guilt every time they indulge.
By following a few common sense practices, however, those who consume more sugar than average can maintain healthy teeth. Here are a few tips that can help prevent cavities for sugar lovers.
While this might seem elementary, a busy schedule often prevents you from brushing as often as you should. To keep your teeth clean, you should:
- Carry a portable or disposable toothbrush with you at all times. Portable toothbrushes can be godsends for busy adults, such as sales representatives and insurance agents, who are on the road during the day. They allow you to quickly visit the restroom after eating a sugary dessert or snack and remove any food or sugar on the teeth. Many such toothbrushes are disposable and some even come with built-in toothpaste.
- Change your toothbrush at home. If you consume a lot of sweets, chances are you're at risk for more plaque buildup than the average person, since plaque thrives in a carbohydrate-rich environment. Toothbrushes with triple-action bristles and diamond-shaped heads are designed to be better at cleaning hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Powered toothbrushes can also make brushing more comfortable and enjoyable.
For those without the means or willingness to carry a toothbrush around, here are some other things to consider:
- Use a mouthrinse to remove as much sugar and sticky residue as possible. While mouthrinses that contain fluoride are ideal, even swishing plain water around your mouth can help when no other option is available.
- Chew a sugar-free gum after eating sweets to help clean your teeth. The gum will increase the production of saliva, aiding in removing any sugar coating the teeth.
- Choose less sugary snacks. Obviously, fruits are a healthy way to satisfy a craving for sweets, but for those who don't want to substitute a banana for a donut, there are still some choices you can make to lessen the risk of cavities. For example, a slice of poundcake will not coat the mouth in sticky sugar for quite as long as a chocolate fudge brownie or piece of gooey taffy.
The key to prevent cavities after eating sugary foods is simply to prevent the mouth from remaining coated in the acid-forming sugars and other carbohydrates found in sweets after eating. Learn more about cavities and their prevention in the Colgate Oral Care resources.