How Does Sugar Affect Your Dental Health?

How Does Sugar Affect Your Dental Health?

Oct 01, 2020

We live in an era where fermentable carbohydrates, including starches and sugars, constitute the bulk of what we eat. Sugar, though necessary, has been linked with multiple health issues. Almost anyone that you meet will tell you that sugar is terrible for your teeth. Most people have been told since they were a child that candy is bad. However, not so many people know how sugar actually affects their oral health.

Sugar in itself is not bad; however, it is what happens after you consume it that you should be wary of. It’s helpful to know what goes on in the mouth when you consume a sugary treat.

The Tug-Of-War Happening in Your Mouth

Your mouth is an ecosystem that houses countless bacteria that are either beneficial or harmful. Every minute, these bacteria are fighting for survival, and your teeth just bear the effects of the tug-of-war. The good news is that teeth are sturdy and were designed to withstand the onslaught of bacteria.

When you ingest food, harmful bacteria produce acids to digest the food. In the process, these acids remove minerals from your tooth enamel (the hard, shiny, outer part of the tooth). This battle goes on and on; each day and over time, the enamel gets weak.

However, the process is entirely reversible. Minerals present in saliva, water, and fluoridated toothpaste help repair the damage caused by the bacteria.

What Is the Connection Between Sugar and Tooth Decay?

Sugar is a magnet for harmful bacteria. When you eat something sugary, be it a piece of cake or a sugary drink, the bacteria start feeding on the sugar. Almost immediately, they form dental plaque (a sticky and colorless film) on the surface of your teeth.

If dental plaque is not removed by saliva or brushing, bacteria will wreak havoc on your teeth. The environment becomes more acidic, and before you know it, you have cavities. In layman’s terms, cavities are holes in the teeth caused by bacteria when they are digesting sugar. Other than that, prolonged exposure to sugar constantly causes the mouth to be acidic, which means that your enamel will be under attack more often. Eventually, this can lead to severe tooth damage.

How Do You Remineralize Your Enamel?

Much of preventive dental care begins with you. On average, you might come to see our Newburyport dentist twice a year. However, what you do in between your appointments has a significant impact on your dental health. Here are some ways that you can fight tooth decay and help remineralize the enamel:

  • Watch What You Eat

Food is what makes or breaks us. Be aware of the food you eat and how you eat it. Your meals should be balanced, enriched with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products. Raw fruit and vegetables help increase the flow of saliva, which helps in remineralization. Dairy products and other foods rich in calcium are also essential.

  • Reduce Your Sugar Intake

As you know by now, sugar is not your friend. Try to only indulge in sugary foods occasionally. Use straws when you are consuming sugary and acidic drinks so that your teeth have limited exposure to the sugar. Avoid eating sticky foods such as breath mints and hard candies because they are long-lasting sources of sugar.

  • Practice Proper Oral Hygiene

We cannot stress this enough. Your teeth were designed to last your entire lifetime; however, you need to show them some love for them to go the long haul. Do the usual, brush after meals, or at least twice a day and floss at least once each day.

Using fluoridated toothpaste is a huge plus since this helps protect your teeth. Sugar-free gum is also beneficial since it stimulates saliva production.

Proper oral care also involves seeking preventive dentistry in Newburyport, MA. Our Newburyport dentist can provide routine exams, teeth cleanings, and X-rays. Where necessary, sealants can be used to keep your teeth intact.

Contact us today at Newburyport Family Dental to schedule an appointment. We offer a comprehensive array of dental services.

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