Dental Health Tips: “Sip All Day, Get Decay”

Many people quench thirst by gulping beverages. Some people keep a soda can or drinking cup nearby and take sips all day. When the drink that is sipped contains any form of simple, complex sugar, or carbohydrate problems can begin.

Bacteria are always present in the mouth. These germs are constantly on the prowl for sugars to feed on so they can multiply and grow. As a byproduct, bacteria produce acid which softens teeth which results in the holes we call cavities.

When you sip a sugary drink and cannot brush or rinse your mouth with plain water, there is a feast for the bacteria to ingest and then cause damage to your teeth. When you sip all day, this large quantity of bacteria can result in so much damage that large discolored spots can become visible on the front sides of teeth. The tooth surfaces that touch each other develop cavities so large that a tooth can crumble when you chew resulting in unexpected tooth pain.

So, what are the things you can do avoid this unfortunate situation.

For one thing, read the label of the drinks that you use. Be aware that drinks like soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, chocolate milk, smoothies, fruit punch or juice, all contain (sometimes) a vast quantity of sugar. Sparkling water, even though it may not contain sugar, contains powerful acid that contributes to loss of protective tooth enamel.

Keeping away from sipping drinks with sugar is a great start. A good habit like this should start at a young age, so teach your children to make good decisions about drinking healthy low or no sugar drinks. If you set a good example for your kids, you will all smile brighter, have fewer cavities, and avoid painful toothaches.

Another thing to do is drink quickly not slowly and do not sip. Slow sipping gives bacteria all the time they need to eat the sugar and to result in cavities. A quick drink gives your saliva time to wash away sugar.

Limit the size of the drink and use a straw to keep the sugar away from your teeth. Swish with plain water after a sugary drink to reduce the acid causing sugar in your mouth.

If you add sugar to your tea, coffee, or drink soda, drink in one sitting rather than over a long period of time. Kids juice drinks should be given only with meals. If they use a sippy cup, fill it with water, not a sugary drink.

If your pediatrician recommends a fluoride multi vitamin, use it. If there is fluoride in your tap water, then make sure that you and your kids drink it. Fluoride is your ally in reducing tooth decay. Studies show that across the country, those who drink fluoridated water have many fewer cavities for their lifetime. Those with orthodontic appliances should brush as quickly as they can to remove food particles. Remember to brush with a fluoride toothpaste to take advantage of the cavity fighting properties of toothpaste.

Good choices and good habits lead to a brighter healthier future for you and your children.

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Ask your dentist for advice on the best way to do this. Stay with those eight and under and share the responsibility of showing and doing the brush and floss routine that all children should practice. Make sure to make your dental appointments regularly to catch problems when they are small, and not wait for emergencies to occur.