You know that your dentist doesn’t like you eating too much sugar, and you probably think that this is because sugar causes cavities. But that’s not the whole truth. Here, we’ll explain why sugar is bad for your teeth.
What Does Sugar Do to Your Teeth?
While sugar in and of itself is not bad for your teeth, it assists in the development of tooth decay. When you eat something sugary, the hundreds of naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feed off that sugar. When bacteria consumes the sugar, it turns it into acids, which is the biggest enemy of tooth enamel. As acids come into contact with enamel, they wear away and destroy this protective outer layer. When the enamel is weakened, that’s when the bacteria and acids create cavities. If left untreated, cavities can even cause more serious dental issues like a lost tooth. So even though sugar itself does not cause cavities, it is very closely linked.
How Can You Combat the Effects of Sugar on Your Teeth?
Beyond avoiding sugar altogether, there are a number of ways in which you can try to alleviate your sugar intake. First off, the natural process called remineralization, the replacement of minerals to strengthen your enamel through saliva, should be encouraged at all opportunities. You can do this by encouraging saliva production by chewing sugarless gum (only sugarless!), making sure you get plenty of fluoride, and eating fibrous fruits and vegetables which stimulate saliva as you chew.
Additionally, eating dairy products like cheese and yogurt help to remineralize your teeth because they contain phosphates and calcium which can strengthen your enamel. Some other ways to keep sugar out of your diet are to minimize your bread intake because this starch is sneakily high in sugar. It’s also important to drink water whenever you eat something starchy, sugary, or sticky. By drinking water after and while you eat, you’ll be washing those food particles away immediately and therefore reducing the chances of them sticking on your teeth and being fed on by bacteria. Finally, practicing good oral health habits like brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each and flossing at least once a day are vital to reducing your risk of developing cavities.
Regular checkups and cleanings are also an important part of keeping your mouth cavity-free so contact us today to schedule an appointment!