You know that sugar is bad for your teeth, but do you know why? Learn how sugar harms your teeth and overall health.
Sugar attracts bad bacteria
Bacteria live all over your body, including in your mouth. Some bacteria are beneficial (like the beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods including yogurt), while other bacteria are harmful. In your mouth, harmful bacteria thrive on sugary substances. When you eat sugar or drink sugary beverages, like soda, the bad bacteria multiply. Left alone, those bacteria strip away tooth enamel.
Fortunately, you can naturally reverse tooth enamel damaged caused by this bad bacteria. Saliva contains minerals. As your saliva coats your teeth, it adds back minerals lost to bacteria.
Sugar lowers the pH in your mouth
You may remember the pH scale, where 7 is neutral and numbers from 0 to 6.9 are acidic. Sugar lowers the pH within your mouth, taking it out of a neutral state and increasing the acidity. Just as an acid might eat away at a substance, an acidic mouth environment can actually eat away at your tooth enamel. Holes will develop in the enamel and eventually a cavity will form.
Sugar Causes Tooth Decay
When you consume sugar now and then, your overall good oral hygiene habits will balance out the sweet treat. When you consume sugar frequently, your teeth will develop decay because the sugary foods and drinks strip away the enamel.
Sugar is in so many foods that you may not realize you’re eating as much of the white stuff as you are. Sugary pop tastes good because it is so sweet, but sodas combine acids with sugar–giving your mouth a double dose of the bad stuff. Even drinks that are marketed as good for you, such as vitamin-enriched waters or sports drinks, tend to be high in sugar. Your best bet for oral health is to hydrate the natural way, with water.
Sugary candies are another common snack that harms your teeth. Hard candies are a particularly bad offender. Whether it’s lollipops or butterscotch, hard candies remain in the mouth for a prolonged period of time. Sugar in those candies is gradually released into the mouth as you suck on the sweet. Your teeth become bathed in sugar for a prolonged acid attack on the teeth.
Watching what you consume is one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of sugar you are eating and drinking to protect your overall health. Learn to read nutrition labels. Look for sugar on food labels–which is harder than it sounds because there are over sixty types of sugar that may be listed on food labels.
Just by becoming aware of what you’re consuming, you can make smarter choices. You’re still allowed to savor sweets now and then, but they are best left as a treat, rather than a daily choice.
We at Weninger Dentistry are here to help you take care of your teeth. To reserve an appointment, contact us now.