Does Sugar Really Harm Your Teeth?

Since you were young, you’ve been told how bad sugar is for you, and for good reason. From diabetes and brain functioning to weight gain and acne, sugar can wreak havoc on your body. It even harms your teeth and gums.

Dr. Ryan J. Fait and our team at Southern California General & Cosmetic Dentistry, located in Long Beach and Avalon, California, know just how detrimental sugar is to your oral health. Here, we’re taking a closer look at its harmful impacts and offer a few practical ways to fight back. 

Sugar and your teeth

There are a few key ways sugar impacts your oral health, and it all starts with bacteria. 

Your mouth is full of bacteria: some good and some not so good. Certain bacteria produce acid when they encounter and attempt to break down the sugar from the food you eat. The acid wears away the enamel (the white outer layer) of your teeth. 

Typically, your saliva does a good job washing away the acid and remineralizing your enamel, but the more sugar you eat, the more the acid has a chance to attack your teeth. That eventually causes small holes called cavities to form. Untreated cavities eventually spread to the deeper layers of your teeth, leaving you vulnerable to painful symptoms and potential tooth loss. 

Two other types of bacteria in your mouth, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus, thrive on the sugar you eat and cause a build-up of dental plaque — a sticky substance that forms on the surface of your teeth. If you aren’t diligent with your floss and toothbrush, plaque can cause cavities and tooth decay. 

Avoiding the impact of sugar

You might think that cutting sodas and sweets will solve your oral health problems, but it’s not that simple. In fact, you might be consuming sugar without even realizing it. Sauces and protein bars are loaded with sweet stuff, and sugar also hides behind other names, including corn syrup, cane juice, and sucrose.

Even sticky foods like candies, breath mints, and suckers are a threat. Beyond reducing the amount and frequency you consume sugary foods (of all kinds), there are a few other ways you can fight against the impact of sugar. Here are a few of our best oral health tips:

Of course, there’s no substitute for having a professional teeth cleaning from Dr. Fait. We have the tools and expertise necessary to eliminate plaque buildup, treat cavities, and address the warning signs of tooth decay even in its earliest stages. 

If you have more questions about how to protect your teeth from sugar, or if you’re ready to schedule a cleaning, request an appointment online or over the phone at either our Long Beach or Avalon, California, offices. 

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