Whether it be sodas, coffee or a favorite candy of yours, sugar can negatively affect your dental health; so let’s read about why this happens.

How does sugar affect your dental health?

Sugar has been an additive to foods and drinks for thousands of years, even more particularly starting in the past century or so, and it’s obvious as to why this is happening. Sugar can add a hint of sweetness to a cup of coffee, be one of the three ingredients needed to create sweet tea, or act as a sweetener in a pecan pie, so it is versatile to say the least. Due to sugar being in almost everything we consume, it starts to become hard to keep track of how much sugar we consume and what it could be doing to our dental health.

How Sugar Affects Dental Health

Tooth Decay

Undoubtedly the most common side effect of sugar consumption, tooth decay is when the hard enamel of the teeth begins to soften and thin down, causing cavities, small cracks and other damage. Anything with added sugar puts you at an especially high risk for tooth erosion, such as soda, coffee or candy. Keep watch of what you drink and eat, and make sure you are following the recommended sugar intake for adults.

Bacteria Growth

Regularly eating sugar will both feed and cause growth of harmful bacteria, which in turn causes the release of acids. These acids cause the tooth enamel to break down, leading to cavities and other damage alike. This will continuously get worse over time, which will cause tooth erosion to happen faster and faster. Bacteria growth can even cause growth of the papillae, leaving you with a tongue that has a long hairy appearance, which can also in itself harbor bacteria.

Plaque Buildup

Plaque buildup is the result of bacteria and substance buildup caused by the consumption of foods and drinks, especially those that contain high amounts of sugar; don’t be fooled though, because it doesn’t take much to start eating away at enamel. When plaque starts to build up, it will start to cause tooth erosion, especially near the gum line. This erosion is caused by plaque buildup, which contains acids and is eating away at the teeth until it gets removed, which is why a good dental regimen is very important.

Sugar Lowers Your Mouth’s pH levels

Naturally, our mouths largely prefer to be at a pH level of around a 7, but when our pH levels drop below that, our saliva may become acidic which can cause all sorts of problems, including tooth erosion, cavities, abnormal taste and more. This can cause major damage over time, so this should also be taken into consideration if you consume a lot of sugar on a daily basis.

A Regimen To Reduce Decay Caused By Sugar

Brush Regularly

Brushing is essential to maintaining proper dental health, because brushing removes most of the bacteria, plaque buildup, sugar and other substances such as acids from your teeth. A good regimen is to brush your teeth three times daily, and especially any time you eat anything heavy in acidic or sugary properties, although it’s best to wait up to an hour after consumption of these foods or drinks so that you don’t push these substances into any cracks or cavities that you may have.

Floss Daily

Flossing is often overlooked, but is actually one of the best things that you can implement into your daily regimen. Brushing does a great job at removing these substances from the teeth, but may have a hard time reaching in between them. This is why flossing is so important, since flossing is able to reach these tight spaces and remove plaque and other bacteria not reachable by a toothbrush.

Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash is another overlooked option by many, and should be in everyone’s daily regimen. Mouthwash reaches throughout the entire mouth, helping to sterilize and remove bacteria and other substances such as food from very hard to reach places like small cracks not reachable by a toothbrush or floss; as well as further sterilizing the tongue, throat and tonsils. 

Final Thoughts 

Sugar, whether it be an additive in a beverage or food, and even in its pure form, can cause major tooth damage. Sugar is without a doubt the lead cause of tooth decay, sending millions to the dentist every year for tooth repair, which could otherwise be avoided if the amount consumed were reduced or stopped completely, at least in additive form. Take all of what you have learned here into consideration and ask yourself, is sugar really worth it?

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