Why is sugar bad for my teeth?
Sugar may be a sweet little treat in your tea or as part of a delectable dessert every once in a while, but it is not a harmless indulgence.
Sugar has far-reaching health implications for people who have various illnesses. High-sugar diets can happen quickly. There is literally added sugar in everything! Blood glucose levels soar with sugar. Other issues take longer to fester, such as coronary artery disease and diabetes.
And, of course, sugar is well known for being devastating to our teeth.
Tooth decay is linked to sugar. After eating sugary foods, the molecules combine with saliva and bacteria. The combination leads to plaque. Plaque can dissolve enamel. It results in cavities. Teeth should be brushed after eating. This will control the bacteria and plaque.
And this isn’t just when the sugar has been added – fruits and veggies have natural sugars that aren’t easier on our chompers.
A battlefield in your mouth
There are many types of bacteria in our mouths. Some bacteria benefit your dental health. Healthline studies show that a select few bacteria in your mouth are harmful. The bacteria produce acid when sugar is digested.
The acid attacks remove minerals from the tooth enamel. It is called demineralisation. Tooth enamel is the shiny and protective layer outside of your teeth.
Saliva does help to constantly reverse the process. This is called remineralisation. Saliva is filled with calcium and phosphate. Fluoride from toothpaste and water also help enamel to repair.
Sometimes, the repeated cycle of acid attacks loses too many minerals in the enamel. It destroys the enamel and forms a cavity. Cavities can spread into deep layers of your teeth. It can be painful, and you may lose a tooth if untreated.
Bad bacteria and low pH levels
Sugar attracts bad bacteria. Two destructive bacteria in your mouth are Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus. They form dental plaque. It is a sticky and colourless film situated on the surface of your teeth.
Plaque should be washed away by saliva or brushing. If not, the mouth becomes more acidic. Cavities will begin to form.
A pH scale measures acidic or basic solution. A neutral solution is 7. If the pH in plaque is less than 5.5, the acidity dissolves minerals. It also destroys the tooth enamel. Small erosions, over time, cause a large hole.
Are you consuming too much sugar?
There are some clear signs that may indicate that your sugar intake is too high. Breaking out in acne is the first indication. Other tells include feeling tired, having high cholesterol and high blood pressure diagnosis. You hardly ever feel full, and you feel down.
High-sugar diets raise the body’s inflammation levels. This is associated with depression.
Fight tooth decay
Eat a balanced diet. The diet should be rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Raw fruit and vegetables increase saliva flow in your mouth.
Sugary foods and sweetened or acidic beverages should accompany your meals. Try not to have them between meals. Use a straw when drinking sugary and acidic drinks. Your teeth will be less exposed this way.
Infants should not sleep with bottles containing fruit juices, formula milk or sweetened liquids.
- Eat sugary and sticky foods occasionally. Drink water while having sweet treats.
- Tap water, specifically, contains fluoride. It will rinse your mouth and dilute sugar on your tooth surface. Water contains no acid, sugar or calories.
- Alcohol contains sugar. It also dries out the mouth. The damage from alcohol is because of the build-up of bacteria and plaque. Alcohol increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. The same can be said about smoking and narcotics, in general.
- Have a cup of tea more often. Green and black tea suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth. This reduces the amount of acid produced. Make sure that the tea is sugar-free.
Good oral hygiene is important.
Good oral hygiene is important. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. It helps to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Brush them after each meal and before you go to bed.
Use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride will assist in protecting your teeth. Sugar-free gum may also help to prevent plaque build-up. It stimulates saliva production and remineralisation.
Visiting your dentist every six months ensures that your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Overall, proper dental health contributes positively to your mental, physical and social well-being. It allows you to enjoy life’s potential without embarrassment. Also, you are able to eat, speak and socialise without any discomfort.
Dental specialists, you can see with Affinity Dental
There are various specialists to see when you have a problem in your mouth, including orthodontists, endodontists, periodontists and prosthodontists, among others that you can see when you sign up with Affinity Dental.
You can get your sugar damaged teeth checked and treated, OR EVEN BETTER, work with a dental health professional to ensure that your teeth don’t get damaged in the first place.
Does medical insurance cover specialists?
Not all dental insurance providers will cover specialist work. Many times, whether certain specialist consultations are covered or not really depends on the insurance provider and the terms of your insurance contract.
When it comes to Affinity Dental, customers can choose between three tiers of dental insurance available at different price points. All of our options cover certain specialist work to various degrees.
If you need to find an Affinity Dental approved dentist in your area, click here.