The Impact of Sugar on Your Teeth

One of the problems with consuming too much sugar is that it continues to impact your teeth and gums long after you’ve finished a meal (or dessert). Even with proper oral hygiene, sugar can eventually cause you to wind up with unwanted dental problems. Here’s a closer look at the impact of sugar on your teeth.

Impacts of Sugar on Teeth

No matter what kind of sugar you consume, it coats and sticks to your teeth. Sugar is a sticky substance and when it combines with saliva in your mouth, it coats the exterior of the teeth. That’s true whether the sugar is in fruit juice, a can of soda, maple syrup, a piece of cake, or the many hidden sugars in processed foods.

The mouth is filled with bacteria, some of which are beneficial and some which are harmful. The harmful bacteria actually love the sugar that coats your teeth after a meal. They feed on the sugar and secrete an acidic substance that will attack the enamel (the outer shell) of the teeth.

Those acids can eat a hole through the enamel into the interior of the tooth, which can cause intense pain or tooth loss. If a tooth decays to the point where it creates an abscess, you may need to have it extracted. Tooth decay and gum disease can contribute to the loss of teeth, the teeth shifting in the mouth to fill gaps, and other problems with your bite.

Once that progresses too far, you may be paying a visit to your Melbourne orthodontist for dental implants, partial bridges, or Invisalign to straighten your smile.

Minimizing the Impact of Sugar on Teeth

Sugars are present in a lot of the foods that we eat, so it’s really difficult to eliminate it entirely from your diet. But there are things you can do to minimize the impact of sugar on your teeth.

For instance, your mouth is naturally always trying to find equilibrium when it comes to acidity. While the acids from sugar and bacteria are attacking the enamel of your teeth, your saliva works to help remineralize the enamel. Your saliva contains phosphates and calcium, which help to restore tooth enamel.

The fluoride in fluoridated toothpaste is another essential mineral that helps repair teeth. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after every meal is one way to fight back against the acidity from bacteria and sugar. This is not foolproof. It only slows the process down. Regular checkups and professional teeth cleanings are also vitally important at mitigating cavities, tooth decay, and gingivitis.

Limit your sugar consumption to mealtimes. You are more likely to remember to brush your teeth immediately after a meal. If you consume sugary snacks between meals and do not brush your teeth afterward, your teeth can end up bathing in sugar for most of the day.

Reducing Sugar for Your Teeth

Minimizing the amount of sugar in your diet is another way to help your mouth’s natural tooth remineralization process. If you consume less sugar, your saliva and fluoride toothpaste will do a better job at keeping cavities at bay.

Sugar is still sugar, no matter what form it’s in. That includes honey, plain old granulated table sugar, molasses and agave syrup. One of the challenges of reducing your sugar intake is that so many food manufacturers hide sugars behind different names. Just because a food does not list “sugar” directly on the ingredient list does not mean it doesn’t contain sugar.

Here are some of the names that are used instead of “sugar,” but which are still sugars:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Any substance ending with the suffix “-ose” (fructose, maltose, dextrose, etc.)
  • Carob powder
  • Evaporated cane juice

Contact Melbourne Orthodontics in Melbourne, FL

If you have lost a tooth (or teeth) due to decay or gum disease, you don’t have to live with the effects of that problem. We have many innovative orthodontic treatments available at our Melbourne clinic. Contact our office today to address your concerns and to schedule an appointment.