Sweets and Teeth

We all already know that sweets lead to cavities. Despite this, sugar consumption in America is skyrocketing. Especially around the holidays like Valentine’s Day and Halloween where the consumption of sweets has a propensity to be higher. 

In the early 1900’s, Americans only consumed an average of 4 pounds of sugar a year.  Currently, we consume a WHOPPING 160 POUNDS of sugar a year.  Even in just the past decade, despite public announcements and health trends, sugar consumption is steadily increasing.

In everyone’s mouth is a realm of bacteria. This can also be referred to as oral ecology. Entire colonies of microorganisms live within the mouth, most of which do no harm. Those who brush their teeth have about 1,000 to 100,000 bacteria living on each tooth. Those who do not, well, they can have between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria on each tooth.

When proper hygiene is practiced some of the bacteria are beneficial in preventing disease. However, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus are the two destructive ones that aid in the formation of cavities. These two species of bacteria feed on the sugar that is eaten, and as a result, form a sticky, colorless film known as plaque. Regular flossing and brushing removes most of the plaque before it causes significant damage.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTY HABITS

30% of Americans only brush their teeth once a day. Most dentists concur that twice a day is the bare minimum. Brushing your teeth for one minute is considered not nearly enough, while two minutes is about right. 

When this healthy brushing habit breaks, it gives way to the production of tartar. Tartar is what plaque turns into, if left unattended. Tartar is formed from plaque, mixing with minerals in saliva, eventually hardening into a strong bond with discolored deposit that traps stains.  These bonds can be removed by a dental hygienist during a dental check-up and cleaning.

In a perfect world, we would reduce the amount of sweets we eat and brush our teeth three times a day, an hour after each main meal and visit our dentist at Las Vegas Smile Center on a routine basis.