What Can Sugar Do to Your Teeth?

July 27, 2021

Who doesn’t love a delicious piece of chocolate cake or the occasional sleeve of Oreos? Many of us crave sugary foods and the quick boost of energy they give us. Eating too many sweets, however, can damage your teeth and lead to more serious, expensive issues.

Bad Bacteria and Acidity: The Dental Detriments of Sugar Consumption

Chocolate CakeDid you know that the bad bacteria living in our mouths feed on sugar? When we eat, bad bacteria feed on the sugars and food particles that are left on the surface or stuck between our teeth. In fact, the bacteria is super-charged by the sugars, releasing acid during the digestion process. When pH levels in the mouth increase, the delicate balance between healthy and damaging bacteria is thrown off.

High oral pH levels can cause:

  • Bad breath
  • Gum disease
  • The permanent erosion of enamel
  • Exposure of dentin, the sensitive, porous tissue under enamel
  • Sensitivity to temperature and sweets
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Tooth decay or loss

Sugar is a Leading Cause of Tooth Decay

Our saliva contains powerful minerals like calcium and phosphate. These chemicals assist in the remineralization of our enamel, the protective coating on our teeth. Enamel goes through a regular process of demineralization, caused by eating and drinking, and is restored through remineralization. When sugar is consistently left on the teeth, and acid levels are frequently running high, tooth decay is a common result.

As acid breaks down the protective enamel on our teeth, it allows for the formation of holes, or cavities. Cavities can lead to gum disease, root damage, tooth loss and even serious infection. Untreated oral infections can lead to a host of other serious health problems.

Bad Habits to Break

For those who can’t seem to put the sweets down, work on eliminating bad habits that help contribute to decay.

  • Cut down on sugary snacks like cookies and ice cream.
  • Don’t eat foods like caramel or popcorn that stick to your teeth.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages that are high in sugar.
  • Stay away from “all-natural” fruit juices that are loaded with sugar.
  • Avoid starchy foods (potato chips, flavored crackers, etc.)
  • Avoid honey, corn syrup and other sugar-laden sweeteners.

Healthy Habits to Pick Up

In addition to brushing and flossing, add these healthy habits to your daily routine:

  • Consume sugar in moderation; don’t make every snack a sweet one.
  • When brushing is unavailable between meals, rinse your mouth with water.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Chew xylitol-containing gum.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings, x-rays and to discuss your dental health.

Talk to Your Dentist About Your Sugar Intake

Call Mountain Shadows Dental to discuss your dental health with one of our esteemed dentists. Our team of professionals is always working to improve the patient experience. Specializing in both children and adult dentistry, we are here to help.

Schedule an appointment today to take charge of your dental health. Our experienced staff is here to serve the community of Firestone, Colorado and the surrounding areas.