‘Tis the season to be merry and (over)indulge in cheer and festive treats! Mince pies, champagne, chocolates, cakes and puddings – this party season, it won’t be just our waistlines that will be hit.
The intake of sugar in cocktails, desserts, the constant snacking can take a beating on our teeth – so it’s vital we take special dental care in this season.
How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
Turns out that even the food we consider to be healthy, like red apples, actually contain up to 20 grams of sugar. If an apple contains that much sugar, imagine how much sugar is waiting for you in your beloved plum cake?
Your mouth has a load of naturally occurring bacteria and when you consume sugary delights, these bacteria feed on the sugar to create acids as a by-product. The acids then wear down the enamel, making your teeth weaker and more susceptible to decay.
Sweetened drinks – whether carbonated sodas, sweetened fruit juices or your twice-daily cup of sugary chai – all contribute to tooth decay. Fruit juices can be especially dangerous because we are convinced that they are good for us. A 12-ounce (around 350 ml) serving of grape juice, for example, contains over 58 grams of sugar.
The worst for our teeth is the amount you snack in this season – the damaging acids form in the mouth every time you eat a sugary snack and continue to affect the teeth for at least an hour later.
Tips For Dental Care During the Festive Season
Here’s how you can keep your teeth cavity free:
- The occasional treat won’t cause too much harm to the teeth, as long as you follow soon after with a thorough brushing to remove that lingering sugar.
- Rinse your mouth after a meal, and especially after consuming sweets.
- Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once, every day of the year.
- Change your toothbrush after every 3 to 4 months.
- Avoid snacking between meals, and
- Complement your dental care regimen with a visit to the dentist for a professional cleaning every six months.
In short, watch the sugar content in the foods you eat. And when you do indulge, be sure to brush right away to protect your teeth from decay. And don’t forget to enlist the help of a dentist to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
(Lt General (Dr) Vimal Arora (Retd) was heading the Dental Branch of the Army, Navy & Air Force as the Director General of the Armed Forces Dental Services and managing more than 700 dental surgeons across the country before he joined the Clove Dental as the Chief Clinical Officer.
He has been awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Indian Prosthodontic Society, Indian Dental Association and he is also the recipient of the ‘Order of the Special Royal Emblem’ from the Sultan of Oman and also the coveted ‘Sushruta Award’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in 2015.)