Sugar = Bad Oral Health
By John C. Koechley, DDS
December 29, 2014
Category: Oral Health
We all know sugar is bad for teeth, but why?
Sugary foods negatively affect your health in a variety of ways: They often lead you to crave more sugary food, can be devoid of much nutritional value and throw your energy levels out of whack. When it comes to your oral health, sugar plays a strong role in a nasty process — decay.
Sugar acts as a catalyst for your mouth bacteria to go to work on your teeth, gums and other tissue in your mouth, which can lead to discomfort, bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay and, ultimately, extra visits to the dentist.
Here's what happens when your mouth endures excessive exposure to sugar: When plaque, the film of bacteria on your teeth and gums, encounters sugar, acid forms in your mouth, which then attacks your teeth. The acid wears away enamel, causing a hole to form, and if left untreated, the hole will grow, becoming a cavity, and the decay may extend to your nerve, which is extremely painful.
This process directly relates to the amount of time your mouth is exposed to sugar. Of course, it's a good idea to minimize sugar intake, but you don't have to eliminate it from your diet in order to protect your teeth. Chewy, sticky, sugary foods and drinks fuel the bacteria in your mouth, and if you're sipping on a soft drink all day, that's hours of heightened acidity around your teeth.
Choosing healthier foods without added sugar treat your mouth well, but they're likely to improve your overall health, when substituted for highly processed foods. On top of making better choices, maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing and regularly visiting the dentist for cleanings, in order to reduce plaque and minimize acidic reactions in your mouth.
John C. Koechley, DDS, has a team of experts available in their Batavia, IL, office to answer your questions about improving your dental hygiene and reducing your risk for sugar-related tooth decay and associated complications. For more information, call (630) 406-9441.