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Sugar Acids -- the number 1 cause for cavities!

Here's why certain foods might be doing more damage than you thought to your teeth.

causes of cavities

If you thought chocolates and sweets were the only causes of cavities, you have reached the right page! Here's an introduction to some other sugar-loaded devils that could be hazardous for your teeth.

But before that, let's understand some basics. Sugar is present in one form or the other in most foods we eat. When we eat, germs in the mouth act on food and break down sugars like fructose, sucrose and glucose, along with other fermentable carbohydrates resulting in the production of sugar acids. Sugar Acids cause the plaque to become acidic which leads to loss of tooth enamel, causing cavities. The damage from sugar acids goes as far as the underlying dentine and can eventually result in tooth loss.

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Now that we understand the basics, let's get down to brass tacks. Enlisting foods that can lead to a build-up of sugar acids:

Sweetened processed foods Sweetened cereal and flavoured yogurt are considered as healthy foods but the fact is that they may contain artificial sweeteners and added flavours that can result in the production of sugar acids that damage the teeth. So always read the food labels and if you're not sure about the jargon, check with your dentist. This doesn't mean that you need to ditch your favourite chocolate flavoured cereal altogether; it simply means that you need to limit your intake by consuming such foods on rare occasions and always in moderate amounts. Sugar acids that are released from the breakdown of sugar or fermentable carbohydrates in food will not cause tooth decay overnight; it's a slow and steady process.

High carb refined foods Refined carbohydrate-rich foods typically have higher sugar content and the best way to minimize tooth decay is by cutting down on your intake of processed and refined foods like cookies, doughnuts and crackers. The prolonged exposure of the teeth to strong sugar acids that are released from the bacterial activity on the simple sugars in such foods demineralises the enamel, eventually leading to the formation of cavities and tooth loss. Starch that is present in carbohydrate-rich foods is also broken down into simple sugars, so it isn't just the obvious culprits that you need to avoid.

Artificial fruit juices: . Most packaged fruit juices are loaded with artificial flavours and sweeteners like fructose and high-fructose corn syrup, which are possibly some of the worst ingredients for your teeth. The fructose, like other forms of sugar, gets broken down to sugar acids which are the no.1 cause of cavities.

Carbonated drinks: Whether you opt for regular colas or diet colas, it scarcely matters; they're all loaded with artificial sweeteners and those sugar acids will begin chipping away at your enamel right from your first sip.

What can you do?

Use Colgate Maximum Cavity protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer: Colgate's new breakthrough technology fights cavities in 2 ways:

a) Its unique Sugar Acid Neutralizer helps de-activate sugar acids before they harm teeth

b) With calcium and Minerals, it also helps to repair and strengthen the enamel to prevent cavity formation

Minimize consumption of foods high in sugar and acid content: 'The first step you should take to reduce the effect of sugar acids is to limit the consumption of foods that lead to enamel and teeth decay. Keep treats as treats!' says Dhvani.

Sip water after meals or snacking:Water is that wonder drink that can do a great deal of good to your health and oral hygiene. Make sure you have water after every meal and also after those snacks that you munch on gleefully.

References:

Riva Touger-Decker, Cor van Loveren (2003) Sugars and Dental Caries. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78:8815-8925

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