The carbs found in breads, potatoes, and other foods may be incredibly tasty, but they can also affect your teeth and gums in a number of different ways. If you eat a meal heavy in carbs, you may actually be doing a large amount of damage to your teeth right away, especially if you don't have proteins and vegetables to balance out the carbs. Here are a few of the ways that carbs can damage your teeth.
Carbs Are Sugars
The first thing to realize is that all carbs will break down into one of a number of different types of simple sugars. Some break down into glucose, while others become lactose, maltose, or fructose. Some carbs don't break down into sugars until they're in the stomach or other part of the digestive tract.
However, fermentable carbs begin to break down into sugars while they're in the mouth. These sugars then attach to the teeth where the feed bacteria. These bacteria then produce the acids that damage teeth and lead to cavities.
Effects May Last for 30 Minutes The sugars that get stuck to your teeth will eventually be washed away by your saliva, but that doesn't happen right away. Instead, these sugars can continue to affect your teeth up to 30 minutes. That's a lot of time for your teeth to be damaged. If you eat a lot of snacks or have drinks that contain these carbs, you can effectively leave your teeth open to damage for hours, especially if you don't drink water to help wash away sugars or brush your teeth.
Look for Good Carbs and Balance Your Diet
Fortunately, there are good carbs such as whole grains that break down later in the digestive system, so they don't cause as much damage to your teeth. Eating a balanced diet also helps get rid of these carbs and their sugars. For example, eating carrots helps to remove stuck-on sugars as you eat.
Don't forget that you also need to come see us on a regular basis for a cleaning. We will examine your teeth and do everything we can to correct any damage caused by eating too many fermentable carbs.