The Effects of Sugar On Teeth

When you think of the holidays, it usually starts with family, friends, and food. We would bet that most people take a step back from their regular diet and indulge a little more on the salty and sugary foods than usual. Hey, we’re not here to judge! But we wanted to inform you of the effects of sugar on your teeth and how it can impact your dental health. Children are especially drawn to all the sweet treats, like cookies, pies, and cakes, which is why it’s important to teach kids proper dental habits early in life to reduce the risk of cavities.

How Does Sugar Affect My Teeth?

Too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but sugar by itself doesn’t do the damage. Instead, oral bacteria use the sugar as a food source and creates an acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth. Cavities are a bacterial infection created by these acids which eventually eats away at your tooth and forms a hole. If left untreated, cavities can lead to other issues and eventually tooth loss.

What Can I Do?

Naturally, your body has a defense for this, but it still needs help. Your saliva plays a key role in keeping your mouth healthy. For instance, acid strips your teeth of minerals through a process called demineralization. However, your saliva contains calcium and phosphates that repair your teeth. That said, replacing lost minerals can only do so much to help if you consume many sweets throughout the day.

Fluoride is another crucial mineral that repairs your teeth, so we suggest consuming foods containing this mineral, such as powdered juices and cereals, dehydrated soups, and seafood. Consuming fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, cheese, milk, green tea, and sugarless chewing gum help stimulate saliva flow, which is highly beneficial to your teeth. The best thing you can do for your teeth is to limit your sugar intake and brush within 20 minutes of eating treats.

Which Foods Should I Watch Out For?

    Sticky Candies & Sweets– Lollipops, caramel, and even cough drops contain refined sugar. However, cacao does have health benefits and has been shown to be not as bad as other sugary treats.

    Soft Drinks– Soda is loaded with sugar and re the leading source of added sugar for kids and teens.

    Starchy Foods– Chips and soft breads can get trapped in between your teeth and can begin working on deteriorating the enamel of your teeth.

    Alcohol– Good saliva flow helps bathe your teeth. However, alcohol dries out your mouth and impedes this flow. Even certain medicines containing alcohol will have the same impact.

We want you and your family to enjoy yourselves this holiday season, but go easy on the sweets! Your teeth, gums, and mouth will all thank you! Give us a call today (205) 655-4300 to schedule an appointment for an exam and cleaning.