Why is Sugar Bad For Teeth?

Dentists have long warned us about the dangers of sugar to our teeth for decades, but in these days of information overload, it may seem like health information is always changing. One day “everyone knows” something is bad for you and the next day, it’s good. Could this also be true for sugar and our teeth, too? Dr. Mark Sowell of Sensational Smiles, a respected dental practice in Plano, TX has some bad news for you: sugar really is as bad for your teeth as you’ve always heard.

Sugar Damages Your Teeth

There’s a valid reason dentists warn against excessive sugar intake: it eats away at your teeth. Everything we eat leaves residue on our teeth, made up of saliva and food particles. This residue — plaque — builds up throughout the day or even while we sleep. The most effective way to remove plaque is using a toothpaste, toothbrush and floss. If left untreated, the bacteria living in plaque will eat holes in your enamel, destroying your teeth.

Oral bacteria feed on the sugar and starch that we eat, allowing it to thrive in the mouth. Oral bacteria are already eating away at our tooth enamel while they feed on plaque. Eating a diet high in sugar just makes them more efficient at this. Therefore, although sugar itself is not the cause of tooth decay, it definitely plays a major role by feeding the bacteria on your teeth that create cavities and weaken enamel.

Sugar is Hiding in Most Food

Almost every food has sugar, and many drinks contain sugar as well. Even healthy foods like fruits and vegetables have sugar so changing your diet to exclude all sugar just isn’t realistic and wouldn’t be much fun.  Regardless of the source, sugar can still lead to tooth decay.

However, the main cause of tooth decay in America today is the sugar hiding in nearly every processed food available everywhere.

How to Help Your Teeth

Eliminating sugar from your diet is impractical — even dentists consume sugar — but a good first step is changing the source of your sugar. Skipping processed food and instead eating more fruits and vegetables will significantly reduce the amount of sugar that breaks down in your mouth.  It’s also better for your overall health. So cutting back on cookies, cakes and soft drinks can make a big difference in reducing your sugar intake.

The best way to counter the effects of sugar on your teeth is through regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque from the teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and keeping regular appointments with Dr. Sowell at Sensational Smiles. For help keeping plaque and tooth decay under control, schedule an appointment at Sensational Smiles in Plano. Call our offices at (972) 382-6855 or request a complimentary consultation online.