Thanksgiving family feuds are not always avoidable, but this year, expect the fight between your teeth and oral bacteria to rival any family disagreements. Everyday foods can take us one step closer to dental caries if not cleaned up properly, but it’s a good idea to keep an extra eye out on Thanksgiving day, with its unique foods and extra helpings of sugary pies and ice cream.
Does No Sugar Mean No Cavities?
Contrary to popular belief, sugar itself does not cause cavities. Rather it feeds the real culprits – your oral bacteria. Sugars, starches and other food compounds feed bacteria which then produce harmful acids, and a substance known as glucans which is the white sticky plaque that coats teeth and harbors harmful bacteria on your tooth enamel.
Foods to Keep an Eye Out for
Recent research has found that certain compounds within blueberries and cranberries may prove useful in stopping the bacteria Streptococcus mutans from producing the substance glucans, which protects the bacteria as it consumes sugars and secretes harmful acids. While this is exciting information for the future of cavity prevention, other studies have revealed less heartening evidence that certain combinations of starches and sugars actually increase bacteria’s ability to produce plaque that is harder, stickier, and more resistant to efforts to remove it. So think again before reaching for those starchy and sugary pies.
Battling the Effects of a Poor Thanksgiving Diet
It will be hard to restrain yourself from all the unique Thanksgiving day delicacies, but your Lake Forest dentist asks that you at least rinse your mouth regularly on Thanksgiving day and brush your teeth promptly after the meal with a fluoride toothpaste. Rinsing is important because it will help you restore the acid balance in your mouth. It is best to rinse before brushing to ensure that you don’t just spread excess acid over your teeth.
Maintaining Oral Health in Lake Forest
While the S. mutans-inhibiting compounds inherent in cranberries and blueberries may be further developed to more effectively battle oral bacteria, for now just consider them a tasty addition to the thanksgiving table. To avoid laying the foundations for cavity development this season, be sure to brush and floss on thanksgiving, and schedule an appointment with your Chicago dentist before the year is out. To contact our office call (847)234-0517. We gladly serve patients from the Chicago metropolitan area, including the north shore and the northwest suburbs.