Sugar and Tooth Decay Continues to be a Major Health Concern

It may not seem like dental hygiene is a great health issue, but it is. While many acknowledge that sugar increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, it is also a major factor in tooth decay. Because it has become such a concern, there has been a closer look into what types of food and drink are causing the most decay, and health advocates recommend limiting daily intake.

Plan to Improve Dental Health

Fluoride has been used and recommended by many dentists over the years to decrease the incidence of tooth decay, but it is not added to Utah water (like it is in other states), and therefore is not uniformly utilized in this area. Because decay results when oral bacteria and sugar combine, experts in dentistry have determined that sugar is a major concern in addition to fluoride, and are trying to educate patients about the importance of limiting sugar and implementing good oral hygiene.

Policy leaders in the United Kingdom are recommending that additional sugar should only supply five percent or less of total daily caloric intake, and the American Heart Association similarly recommends that added sugars account for less than 100 calories per day for women and 150 for men. The UK is also working on reducing the amount of sugar in drinks and processed foods, but since the same policies are not in place in the U.S. it’s important for consumers to monitor their own food intake and limit sugar accordingly.

What You Can Do

Obviously, cutting down on your sugar intake will help prevent cavities and tooth decay, but what exactly does that look like on a daily basis? Five percent is a very small amount when it comes down to it. For example, if you consume around 2,000 calories in a day, you would be limited to 100 calories of sugar. If you drink a glass of juice in the morning, you have already used up your sugar calorie allotment.

You may find it difficult to cut that much sugar out of your daily diet, but there are other things that you can do to help decrease sugar from mixing with the bacteria in your mouth. After eating or drinking something sweet, rinse your mouth out with water as quickly as possible to flush out the excess sugar. Also brush your teeth regularly, especially after consuming sweets.

Limiting sugar can have several health benefits for people, including reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, controlling weight, and also maintaining strong and healthy teeth.

Periodontitis – Common or Uncommon?

Many people suffer from periodontitis. This is an infection of the gums that damages the soft tissues and actually damages the bones supporting your teeth. As a result of this problem, people can lose teeth or have other problematic dental issues. Also, periodontitis is linked to several health problems including hearts disease and stroke. Is this problem common or uncommon? 

Periodontitis Is Common

Periodontitis is actually pretty common. However, most people that have this problem could have prevented it with better oral hygiene habits. There are also certain factors that increase the risk of developing this condition:

  • Heredity
  • Tobacco use
  • Old age
  • Gingivitis
  • Diabetes
  • Decreased immunity
  • Pregnancy
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor bite

Preventing Periodontitis

It is important to try to prevent this problem from happening – especially if you have an increased risk of developing the disease. In order to do so, you need to implement better oral hygiene habits. This entails brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and some people that are highly at risk also brush after meals. In addition to daily brushing, flossing is important because it helps remove the plaque build up and minimize the bacteria in your mouth.

One of the best ways to prevent the problem is to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams. During this time, your potential gum problems can also be treated before they develop into periodontitis.

Symptoms to Be Aware Of

Since periodontitis is common, it is important to recognize the symptoms of this problem. The following symptoms might indicate that you should seek the help of your dentist:

  • Swollen gums
  • Tenderness in the gums
  • Red or purple gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pus between the gums and teeth
  • Bad breath
  • New space between your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bite changes
  • Weird taste in your mouth

Periodontitis has different levels of severity. If you think you have a problem, it is a good idea to work with your dentist to resolve it before it gets worse.