Dentists have been telling us about how bad sugar is for our teeth for decades, but in today’s world of online information overload it sometimes seems like what is good and bad for you is constantly changing. So is it possible that sugar isn’t as bad for our teeth as we thought?
Dr. Albert Caves of Caves Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Columbus, GA has some bad news for you: Unfortunately, sugar is just as bad as you’ve always heard it is for teeth.
Sugar Damages Your Teeth
There’s a very good reason dentists warn us about eating too much sugar: it destroys your teeth. Everything we eat and drink leaves residue on our teeth which combines with naturally-occurring oral bacteria. This residue — plaque — builds up during the day and even during sleep, and needs to be removed with brushing and flossing. If left untreated, plaque will eat away at the hard outer layer of the teeth called the enamel. This is what is known as tooth decay.
Sugar is the favorite food of these destructive oral bacteria. Eating sugary and starchy foods increases the amount of acids the bacteria produce which then increases the deterioration of your enamel of your teeth in places where plaque has been accumulated. Therefore, although sugar itself does not cause tooth decay, it increases the bacteria’s ability to destroy your teeth, creating cavities and weakening enamel.
Sugar is Hiding in Most Food
Almost every food has sugar even some that are traditionally thought of as healthy like fruit and some vegetables. Many drinks contain sugar as well. For Americans, the primary cause of tooth decay is the sugar hiding in nearly every processed food that is for sale everywhere.
But whether from fruit or a donut, sugar can still lead to tooth decay.
How to Help Your Teeth
We understand that completely eliminating sugar from your diet would be virtually impossible and would not be much fun — even dentists eat foods with sugar! However, changing the source of your sugar intake is a great first step towards healthier teeth. Eating more fruits and vegetables instead of processed food can greatly reduce the amount of sugar you take in, which is good for your mouth and your overall health.
Regular brushing and flossing is the simplest and still the most effective way to remove plaque from your teeth. Regular means as often as your dentist suggests — brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day. Most importantly, keeping regular appointments with Dr. Caves or your area dentist will help you keep tooth decay away, letting your have a healthy, beautiful smile. To keep plaque and tooth decay under control, call (706) 407-4851 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Caves today.