How Bad is Sugar for Your Oral Health?
Brushing and flossing may not always be enough to keep your teeth strong and healthy; diet can also have a huge impact on your oral health. Parents often tell their children that sugar will rot their teeth, but it isn’t only sugar that causes cavities. It is important to know what factors contribute to tooth decay, which foods to avoid, and which you can consume in moderation.
What Causes Cavities
Cavities develop when the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the sugars in the food you eat and drink. When the bacteria and sugar come together, they create an acid that eats away at the enamel of your tooth. Eventually, the acid will start to create a hole in the enamel and spread into the softer layer of your tooth until it reaches the pulp. Once the infection reaches the pulp, you may need a root canal to rid the tooth of decay so the tooth won’t have to be extracted.
When to Avoid Sugar
While it is beneficial to greatly limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume during the day, there are some that are worse than others. Sugary drinks will cause the most damage to teeth because they often contain acid as well. Also, any gums and hard candies that dissolve slowly in your mouth will give bacteria more time to create decay causing acid and plaque.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to cut out sweets completely. There are ways to keep the sugar from causing too much damage. If you do want to consume sugary drinks, use a straw so it spends less time in your mouth. Also, drink plenty of water during and after consuming foods high in sugar to help rinse away bacteria and food particles.
The number one way to avoid developing cavities is to brush and floss daily. This will help remove decay causing plaque from your teeth and reduce the bacteria levels in your mouth. It is also good to limit your sugar consumption. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will notice early signs of tooth decay so you can take steps to reverse it. If you are in the Stillwater, Minnesota area and would like to know more about the effects sugar has on your oral health, please contact Dr. Bruce Filson and his team at Filson Gentle Dentistry.