You’ve probably heard all your life that sugar is bad for your teeth. But what exactly is it about sugar that makes it harmful to your oral health?
When you consume surgery foods like cookies and candy, it starts a chain reaction in the mouth. The bacteria that live in your mouth feed off the sugar and produce acids that attack tooth enamel. Sugar also alters the pH level in your mouth, causing your saliva to become more acidic. Over time, this can weaken tooth enamel due to a loss of minerals.
Due to the harmful effects of sugar on teeth, it’s important to limit your consumption of surgery foods and beverages. Learn more about the effects of sugar on teeth and some healthy alternatives to surgery treats.
Ways that Sugar Can Affect Your Teeth
Most people know that sugar can be harmful to their health but many do not understand the extent of this damage. Here’s a look at some of the ways that sugar can affect your teeth and overall oral health.
1. Erosion of Tooth Enamel
While sugar contributes to the development of tooth decay, it isn’t entirely to blame for cavities. Bad bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars in the foods and drinks you consume. Bacteria then produce acids that gradually erode the enamel on your teeth, often resulting in symptoms like sensitivity. If the problem isn’t resolved, acids can wear down enamel and affect the next layer of tooth structure, the dentin.
2. Interference of Remineralization
Consuming too much sugar can interfere with the teeth’s natural repair processes. When you eat sugary foods, acids erode minerals from the enamel, a process referred to as demineralization. Under the right conditions, a natural process called remineralization can help restore these lost minerals and strengthen the teeth. However, if you are constantly snacking on sweets and carbs throughout the day, your teeth are not able to effectively remineralize.
3. Development of Tooth Decay
Sugary foods and beverages are a leading cause of tooth decay. When you regularly consume soda, cookies, cake, and other sweet treats, you are creating acids that eat away at your teeth. Over time, plaque can harden into tartar which can only be removed by a dental professional. Decay can start to develop and worsen over time if it is not removed and fixed with a filling from your dentist.
How to Protect Your Teeth from Harmful Sugar
The average adult consumes an average of 77 grams of sugar each day, approximately three times the recommended amount, according to the American Heart Association. While you don’t need to cut out sweet treats completely from your diet, it is important to consume it in moderation. Here are some tips for enjoying sweets without harming your teeth:
Limit your daily consumption of sweets. Think of sugary foods and drinks as an occasional indulgence and not an everyday snack.
Drink water after consuming sugary treats. Drinking water helps to wash away sugar debris left behind.
Carefully consider eating sweets. Some sweet treats contain much more sugar than others. In addition, gooey and sticky sweets tend to adhere to the tooth surface, causing more harm to teeth.
Brush your teeth after eating sweets. Ideally, you should brush about 30 to 60 minutes after eating sugary foods or beverages to prevent them from sitting on your teeth.
Chew sugar-free gum to help clean your teeth. If you’re not able to brush right way, pop a piece of sugar-free gum in your mouth to boost your saliva production and prevent plaque buildup.
Schedule an Appointment with Bonham Dental Arts
Eating sugar in moderation is an important component of good dental health and wellness. The highly-qualified dental team at Bonham Dental Arts can help you maintain your smile with restorative, cosmetic, sedation, and family dentistry services. Contact Bonham Dental Arts to schedule an appointment or to sign up as a new patient.