How Does Sugar Affect Your Dental Health?

April 29, 2022 2:44 am
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A spoon and fork outline in a dusting of powdered sugar on a blue background

A diet high in sugar and poor oral hygiene are usually the culprits behind cavities and other common dental issues. But why does sugar have such a bad reputation?

Why Sugar Is Bad for Teeth

The main reason that a high sugar intake can be dangerous for your teeth has to do with your oral bacteria. Your mouth is full of both beneficial and harmful bacteria. When the “bad” bacteria feed on the sugar you eat, they produce acids that damage your tooth enamel and irritate your gums. Without daily brushing and flossing, this bad bacteria can accumulate and continue to produce toxins that damage your enamel and gums, leading to cavities, infection, and gum disease.

Are Some Sugary Treats Safer Than Others?

Sugar in any form becomes fuel for bad oral bacteria. Limit your consumption of sugary foods and beverages that are not nutrient-dense.

For example, while an orange contains natural sugar, it also contains vitamins and fiber that are essential for your body. Compared to a single orange, a glass of orange juice contains vitamins and significantly more natural sugar. It is like eating several oranges but without the healthy fiber that would otherwise provide a sense of satiety. An orange soda contains even more sugar than orange juice but does not provide any healthful nutrients and is thus empty calories. Between these three choices, a whole orange is usually the best choice.

Store-bought yogurt, smoothies, and snacks can hide a lot of sugar. Learn how to read nutrition labels and choose whole foods (and water!) whenever possible.

Can I Avoid Cavities & Still Consume Sugar?

We all need a sweet treat now and then; simply consume them in moderation amidst an overall balanced diet. When you do have something sugary, drinking water afterwards can help rinse your teeth of the sugary residue. A daily at-home oral hygiene routine is also key: brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time and floss every day. Additionally, keep up with your regular visits to our office. This allows our team to keep an eye on any potential problem areas and treat them before they become more serious.

To ask our team any questions about how sugar can affect teeth or to schedule your next visit, contact our office today!

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