Friday, October 30, 2009

(Not so) Sweet Tooth

Since many of us are especially concerned about our kids' teeth this time of year, I thought I'd pass along a highly informative website about dental health. Since I have the worst sweet tooth ever, I have learned about sugar and tooth decay the hard way in my lifetime, and this website teaches the facts very plainly.

Here is some information about sugar and dental health, followed by a link to the site...

"Believe it or not, even if you never brushed your teeth, you would never get a single cavity if there were no sugar in your diet. No sugar, No decay....period! Even if you NEVER brushed your teeth! (If you want proof of this, go to a museum of natural history sometime and look at the skeletons of ancient humans. You will find their teeth quite worn, and some may be missing from gum disease, but you will see NO cavities! These people did not have dentists, and they did not brush their teeth, but they had limited access to concentrated sugar which is the reason that they had no tooth decay.)
This does not mean that sugar is evil. If you eat sugars only with meals, it does relatively little harm. 95% of all cavities are caused by specific sugar habits.

If you seem to get a lot of cavities, then you almost certainly have a sugar habit. By that I mean that you tend to expose your teeth to something sweet numerous times throughout the day. The key here is the frequency of exposure, not the actual amount of sugar in the foods eaten or drunk.
-Say you buy one can of (sugared) soda (or even natural fruit juice) and then sip it throughout the day, taking a sip, putting it down, then picking it up for another sip twenty minutes later.
-Each sip allows the sugar to coat your teeth.
-The bacteria in your mouth metabolize the sugar turning it into acid.
-This acid remains active for about twenty minutes at which time you take another sip starting the whole sugar/acid cycle over again.
-One bottle, or can may last a whole day, but that bottle contains enough sugar to cause huge damage to your teeth.
-Note that even if you drank an entire case of Coke in the space of 20 minutes, that case of soda would constitute only one discrete exposure and would do minimal damage to your teeth."

So in other words, snacking on one single skittle every 20 minutes or so several times a day can do much more damage to our teeth than eating the entire bag of halloween candy in one sitting! As far as our dental health is concerned, it's the frequency with which our teeth are exposed to the sugar that matters. I highly recommend checking out this website for more info... but beware, the pictures on this site will make you want to stop what you're doing, and brush your kids' teeth (and your own) right now!


Jill said...

This is true. My twins, especially Keith, never had his teeth brushed in 4 1/2 years and neither had any cavaties when we took them to the dentist. They never ate sugar in Ukraine.

Julie Jardine said...

Thanks for the guilt trip! Just kidding! It does make me want to go brush everyone's teeth. And I didn't even go to your site. Luckily we don't drink the soda's too much around here, but I was most enlightened by the comment about the skittles throughout the day. Good stuff, thanks for sharing. And I really am kidding about the guilt trip thing. But ya know, all of us mom's have let our kids eat candy....and tonight is Halloween, so they've been eating candy all night! Oh well. Hopefully we aren't seeing the dentist next month.


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