The Tooth-Decaying Carb: Why Sugar is Bad for Your Teeth

You may already know that sugar is bad for your smile, but why? What effect does it have? Learn about the impact sugar can make your teeth.

If you’re like most today, you know sugar isn’t good for your oral health. Authority figures ranging from dentists to parents have told you so all your life. That said, you may not grasp how exactly sugar impacts your teeth. The fact that it’s bad for your pearly whites doesn’t explain its effects. Well, learning the relevant details isn’t that hard. To help you do so, here’s a primer on how sugar affects teeth and what you can do to fight its effects.

How Does Sugar Affect Your Teeth?
Truthfully, it isn’t quite sugar that harms your teeth. The real issue is the oral bacteria attracted by this carb.

You see, sugar attracts Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus. These two destructive bacteria feed on the substance. In doing so, they form dental plaque – a sticky, colorless film that sticks to your enamel. Left unchecked, said plaque can cause the following:

Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when plaque and bacterial acids erode your enamel. Naturally, this process can (and will) weaken your teeth over time.

Tooth decay can cause various oral issues. For example, it often leads to cavities that expose your dentin and dental nerves. If such holes aren’t filled, they might reach your pulp and result in tooth infections. You’d then need to get root canal therapy or a tooth extraction.

Gum Disease
Besides eroding teeth, sugar can also trigger gum disease. The latter is an infection of your gums due to plaque and harmful bacteria. Unless treated, it usually worsens and leads to more problems.

Gum disease’s effects are simple enough. At first, they include things like bleeding gums, gum swelling, gum soreness, etc. When the condition reaches its advanced stage, though, it’ll erode your gums and the bones holding your teeth in place. This erosion can then result in tooth loss.

How Can You Fight Sugar’s Effects?
To avoid sugar’s more severe effects, you’ll need to follow good oral habits. Such practices include the following:

· Watch What You Eat & Drink – As best you can, eat a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, veggies, and dairy products. The fruits and veggies will be especially helpful, increasing the saliva flow in your mouth.

· Reduce Your Sugar Intake – While tasty, you should only eat sugary and sticky foods occasionally. Furthermore, you should drink some water after you do. (As a substitute for sweets, you could also chew sugar-free gum. This product has xylitol, which tastes sugary but doesn’t attract bacterial acids.)

· Practice Good Oral Hygiene – Of course, you can avoid sugar’s effects with proper teeth cleaning. So, remember to brush twice daily and floss once daily. You should also rely on fluoride toothpaste, which helps protect teeth. Lastly, keep your teeth and gums healthy by seeing a dentist every six months.

In the end, sugar will wear down your teeth if you aren’t careful.