From delectable desserts to those fizzy soft drinks, sugar is present in most of our favorite foods. Unfortunately, while satisfying your urges, you usually ignore sugar’s harmful impact on your oral health. Let’s understand how sugar impacts your oral health and what you can do to keep your oral health intact.
According to a family dentist in Upland, CA, here are 5 ways in which sugar can affect your oral health:
- Dental decay caused by sugar: When you consume sugary food and beverages, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids as a result. These acids damage the enamel, your teeth’s protective outer layer, causing tooth decay. This demineralization weakens the enamel over time, causing cavities and leaving the teeth vulnerable to further damage.
- Plaque formation due to sugar: When you eat sweet treats, some of the sugar sticks to your teeth and forms a sticky coating known as plaque. Plaque binds to acids, intensifying the acid attack on your teeth. If you do not brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque can stiffen and turn into tartar, inflicting further damage to your teeth.
- Sugar induces an acidic environment: Bacteria feed on sugar and, in turn, create an acidic environment in the mouth. This acidic environment erodes the enamel progressively, making teeth more prone to decay. Sugar can kickstart a vicious cycle of acid attacks on the teeth, increasing the risk of cavities.
- Sugar’s effect on gums: The impact of sugar is not only limited to your teeth, but it can also affect your gums. Gum disease can be aggravated by excessive sugar consumption, especially when you disregard oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar buildup along the gumline can cause inflammation and lead to an infection. If left untreated, it can develop into gingivitis or, even worse, into periodontitis, a chronic gum disease. These conditions can cause gum recession and tooth loss.
- Dry Mouth: Relishing on sugary delights more often can also lead to dry mouth, a condition whereby the mouth produces inadequate saliva. Remember, saliva is essential for acid neutralization and wiping away food particles and germs. The risk of dental decay and gum disease accelerates when saliva production is decreased.
Refraining from excessive sugar consumption, complemented with healthy oral habits like brushing twice, flossing, and regular dental check-ups, can avert the harmful effects of sugar. Remember, life is short, but teeth can last a lifetime. Protect your teeth from the bitter consequences of sugar.