You love sugar, but you’ve always been told that sugar is bad for you. Maybe you’ve also heard that sugar is bad for your teeth. But why? Sugar can cause problems for your teeth, but the scarier part is realizing just how prevalent sugar is in our diets these days. How can you make sure your smile stays strong against the harmful effects of sugar? Check out this helpful information here from your dentist in Richardson.
HOW DOES SUGAR AFFECT YOUR TEETH?
Your mouth has bacteria in it—everyone’s does. In a white, sticky substance called plaque, these bacteria produce acids that eat away at your teeth’s enamel, causing tooth decay, otherwise known as a cavity. Also, these bacteria contribute to gum disease. Although it predominantly affects your gums, gum disease does impact your teeth as well. In more advanced stages, gum disease can lead to your teeth becoming loose or even to tooth loss.
These harmful bacteria thrive on sugar. When you feed yourself with your sugary drink or snack, you also feed them and increase your chances of getting a cavity or worse.
WHAT FOODS AND DRINKS HAVE SUGAR IN THEM?
With so many processed foods out there, perhaps the more appropriate question would ask what doesn’t have sugar in it. However, there are some products that have a particularly high sugar content, and some of them just might surprise you. These include the following:
- Baked goods.
- Processed carbohydrates (such as bread or crackers).
- Energy drinks.
- Sports drinks.
Check the nutrition label on products to see the sugar content. Don’t forget to look at the serving size for a more accurate reading.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY TEETH FROM SUGAR?
The simplest way to prevent sugar from wreaking havoc on your teeth is by avoiding it in your diet as much as possible. For many, especially children, it can be difficult to steer clear of sugar completely, so here are some other things you can do to keep sugar’s influence to a minimum:
- Brush your teeth at minimum twice a day, especially after consuming a sugary food or drink.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Drink more water to help wash away residual sugars.
- Avoid eating sugary foods as snacks between meals. Rather, have them right after a meal, when you’re more likely to drink water and brush your teeth.
- Replace sugary snack foods with more mouth-friendly options, like carrots, apples, pears, and cucumbers.
- Visit your Richardson dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.
Sugar affects not only your overall health but your oral health as well. The more you consume, the more likely you are to suffer from dental problems. As you learn to reduce your sugar consumption and implement more mouth-friendly lifestyle choices, you can decrease these odds and protect your mouth from the harmful effects of sugar. That way, you can keep your natural teeth healthy and happy for many years into the future. For more information about oral health, contact your dentist in Richardson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. David Nguyen has been practicing dentistry for over ten years. Although he has the training and skill to execute even the most advanced dental procedures, he and the staff at Dental Care Today of Richardson try to help patients focus on preventive care first. He is able to provide both oral conscious and IV sedation to accommodate patients with dental anxiety as well.