What Sugar Does to Your Teeth

July 29, 2021

Assortment of CandyEverything you eat and drink can have a significant impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Sugar, for example, is well-known as the most common culprit behind tooth decay. However, many people are still unsure exactly what sugar does to your teeth.

Tooth decay happens when your teeth have a buildup of plaque, most often due to poor oral hygiene. Harmful bacteria in plaque feed on sugar and ferments it into an acid that can damage the teeth. When you eat large amounts of sugar, this acid can coat your teeth, eventually resulting in gum infection and tooth decay.

Diet and Oral Health

Because of its negative health implications, many healthcare professionals encourage their patients to avoid excess sugar or cut back tremendously to prevent adverse effects. However, for some people, sugar can seem inescapable. Most foods and drinks contain sugar, including seemingly healthy options like juice and smoothies. Sodas are arguably the primary culprit behind high-sugar diets, often packing in well over the recommended daily sugar limit in just one serving.

Sipping on sugary beverages is one of the most damaging habits for your teeth. Although it may seem harmless, slowly drinking sodas or juice throughout the day means repeatedly exposing your teeth to acid attacks, which creates an ideal environment for decay. Therefore, if you enjoy soda now and then, it’s best to limit the drink to mealtimes to prevent these harmful effects.

Similarly, if you have dessert, enjoy it as part of a meal rather than a separate snack. Salivary flow increases more during meals than during snacks, helping to weaken cavity-causing acids and repair minor damage caused by the acids. After meals, remember to brush your teeth or rinse with water to wash away plaque and food.

Caring for Your Teeth and Gums

The best way to protect your teeth is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing is essential. However, you should also visit a dentist twice per year for a comprehensive exam and professional cleaning.

At Central Park Modern Dentistry, our dentists can advise you about factors that may increase your risk of dental decay and will work with you to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. If you’re overdue for your next check-up, contact us today for a new patient appointment.