Warm Drinks Can Help Remove Sugary Foods From Your Teeth
Since I am on the subject of removing leftover food from your teeth, let’s think about the different kinds of foods and how sticky they are.
Fruits are delicious. One of the reasons they’re so delicious is that they are so sweet; nature’s natural candy. Whole fruits, when eaten with a meal, don’t necessarily increase your chances of cavities by a significant amount unless they stick around and between your teeth afterward. We crave the sweetness of fruits, so fruit growers have selected varieties, genetic mixes, and growing conditions that give us some of the sweetest fruits ever known. They have far more sugar than their ancient ancestors.
Think about grapes for example. Grapes have a sugar content that varies based on the growing conditions. The sugar content can easily range from 16 to 25 % sugar at the time of harvest. When grapes are dried on the vine, with the intent of harvesting raisins, water evaporates and the sugar concentrates. It can easily surpass 75%. Through processing and additional drying time the concentration of sugars can go up even higher.
Natural Foods With The Same Amount Of Sugar As Candy
So if you are having raisins and eating them by the handful or in cookies or trail mix as a snack, they have a sugar content that is almost the same as candy. Think back to the last time that you had raisins and whether they stuck in your teeth. Of course they did.
All dried fruits have, as a result of water removal, very high levels of sugar. When the sugar level is very high it tends to preserve fruit. It’s so high it slows bacteria and mold growth. That’s the idea. Dried fruit stores with a reduced risk of spoiling. Yes, additional preservatives are often used these days, such as sulfites and sulfur dioxide, to further inhibit bacteria and mold growth and increase shelf life.
But once consumed, and caked onto the sides of teeth and stuck into the grooves they provide a time-release form of sugar exposure that bacteria just love. Great for bacteria, rotten for your teeth. Literally.
Observing The Consistency Of Foods Is Critical For Good Dental Care
After eating any dried fruits, drink warm beverages to help soften dried fruit and dissolve the sugars sticking to your teeth.
Warm drinks will help remove almost any sticky food, or food high in sugar, and will thus help protect your teeth in a similar fashion.
Foods tend to stick in the crevices that exist on the tops of teeth, and where teeth lean against each other. When young moms need a visual example, I’ll ask them to look in their child’s mouth after eating something like an Oreo cookie. And I’ll have them look again after their child has brushed their teeth. Half the cookie will still be there, stuck in the biting surfaces and in between.
It’s hard to get children to drink warm beverages that don’t contain sugar in an effort to help with sugar removal from foods. Most aren’t drinking coffee or tea of any kind. They won’t drink hot water. So the best thing young mom’s can do is to avoid the Oreos, dried fruits and other sticky foods to protect their children’s teeth. You are fighting an uphill dental care battle if you don’t select more appropriate foods and snacks for your children.
Cookies aren’t the only culprits. Even crackers and breads will leave a lot of residue that tends to persist after casual brushing. Most adults have a difficult time doing an excellent job of brushing and removing these sticky foods too. Avoid eating them. Look at your diet. Is it high in candy, crackers, bread, syrups, sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar or honey? Even “natural” sugars can breed natural cavities and tooth decay.
Sweets Hidden and Obvious
Do you eat a lot of sweets? Do you enjoy caramel, or toffee? Both of these tend to get stuck in the valleys on the tops of teeth and in any crevices around dental fillings or crowns. If these remain there, after eating, you are looking for trouble.
Ingredient lists are very deceptive. Look at the typical ingredient list for soda crackers or breads. You’ll see that many do not list sugar as an ingredient. Sounds good, but wait. Every person has enzymes within their mouth that quickly convert the starches in breads and crackers to sugars. This is where the bacteria that live in your mouth perk up and get excited. You just brought them food again. And it only takes a couple of minutes for the starches or carbohydrates to convert into their favorite food source, sugars.
So if our focus is to keep bacteria levels at a minimum, drinking your favorite warm beverage at the end of a meal is going to help a little. You just have to make sure your favorite warm drinks don’t contain sugars or your solution for sticky foods turns into a new source for sugar.