DocTalk: Sweet treat dental tips
Halloween is near, and with that follows the sweets of the holiday season as well. Keeping up your oral hygiene is a must year round but Midtown Health Center’s Chief Dental Officer, Dr. David Seger has some tips during this extra sweet time.
Some people might think it is OK to consume sugar as long as you brush your teeth right after, Dr. Seger said that information is false. “Even with proper brushing, you can still develop tooth decay,” he said. “Brushing is just one preventative tool we use to address this problem.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay, also known as cavities are one of the greatest unmet health treatment needs and 52% of those aged 6 to 8 years old have cavities in their baby teeth. Dr. Seger said that although people believe those baby teeth are not as important as permanent adult teeth, they are equally important.
“Not only are (baby teeth) present for function, they also prepare our adult teeth,” Dr. Seger said. “The most important consideration is that cavities on baby teeth can result in pain and infection.”
However, children are not the only ones with a high rate of cavities, the CDC shows that 57% of adolescents have had a cavity in their permanent teeth and 90% of adults over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity.
Dr. Seger suggests brushing and flossing at least 15 minutes after any food consumption. “This gives time for your saliva to neutralize your mouth and avoid damage to your teeth by brushing away enamel if what you consume is acidic.”
Although there is no special technique for brushing your teeth after consuming sugar Dr. Seger said to follow up candy with a bottle of water or sugar-free gum. As for candy consumption, Dr. Seger suggests trying some sugar-free alternatives. But be careful and still consume in moderation.
“In general, sugar-free candy and sugar-free gum can be less harmful to your teeth,” Dr. Seger said. “However, they may contain artificial sweeteners but also artificial preservatives and colors that create an acidic environment, which can also cause tooth decay.”
As always it is recommended to keep up with regular visits to your dentist to prevent any long-term issues.
Midtown Health Center’s DocTalk is a collaborative effort of Dr. Emily Vuchetich, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. David Seger, Chief Dental Officer; Dr. Josh Turek, Chief Behavioral Health Officer as well as Midtown’s other providers. For a full list of Midtown’s providers, as well as more information about Midtown please visit Midtownhealthne.org.