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How Does Sugar Affect Your Teeth?


It is hard to believe that Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are right around the corner. Of course, these exciting celebrations come with lots of sweet treats, including plenty of sugar! But before you and the kids dive into the candy, let’s look at how sugar affects your teeth and the best ways to avoid tooth decay.

From a very young age, we have been taught that sugar is the enemy of your teeth. While sugar certainly does cause tooth decay, it is not the only culprit for oral health issues. There is a domino effect from when you pop that piece of candy in your mouth or drink that sugary drink. The chain of events that occur in your mouth after consuming sugar is essential to understand, so you know how sugar affects your teeth and how to prevent tooth decay.

Several different types of bacteria live in your mouth. Some are harmful to your oral health, and some are beneficial. For example, when sugar enters your mouth, harmful bacteria produce acid as they attempt to break down the sugar. That destructive bacteria feeds on the sugar you eat and form dental plaque, a sticky, colorless film on the surface of the teeth. If the plaque is not brushed away, the mouth becomes more acidic and weakens the tooth enamel over time. As this happens, small holes form, which leads to cavity formation.

The good news is that beneficial minerals in your saliva, like phosphate and calcium, are constantly working to repair the enamel in your teeth. Adding fluoride to your toothpaste and water supports this process of strengthening your teeth.

Kick These Habits to Avoid Tooth Decay

There are certain food-related habits that researchers have found that increase your susceptibility to cavity formation.

  • High-sugar snacks will increase the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acids that work to dissolve sugar.

  • Regular consumption of sugary and acidic beverages like soda, sports drinks, or energy drinks, as these drinks have elevated levels of acids that lead to tooth decay.

  • If you drink something high in sugar, drink it over a shorter period. Sipping slowly throughout the day exposes your teeth to sugar for a longer time.

  • Sticky, sugary foods such as hard candy, lollipops, and fruit snacks will stay stuck in your teeth longer than other forms of sugar. This gives the harmful bacteria in your mouth more time to produce that cavity-forming acid.

Fight Sugar-Induced Tooth Decay with These Tips

  • Eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, dairy, and vegetables.

  • Drink plenty of water, and in the rare case you consume a sugary beverage, use a straw to reduce sugar exposure to your teeth.

  • Cut down on sugary foods. When you have a sweet treat, eat it with a meal rather than in between meals.

  • Practice good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice daily and flossing regularly. Add toothpaste that contains fluoride to boost your protection further.

  • Schedule regular dental check-ups every six months.

If it is time for you to have a regular check-up or think you might have tooth decay, reach out to Value Dental Care. Our trained staff is always ready to help you with all your oral care needs. We offer high-quality care at affordable prices. Email or call us today to schedule an appointment at our Spring Hill (352-684-1274) or Crystal River (352-794-6139) locations.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-sugar-destroys-teeth#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5