How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

A perfect storm for developing tooth decay requires but three ingredients: your teeth, bacteria, and sugar. You can be sure there is always bacteria present in your mouth, hiding in cracks and crevices and unseen to the human eye, waiting ominously for a bit of sugar so that it can begin the process of creating painful cavities in your mouth.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Our emergency dental service is available outside traditional hours of operation, ready to nip your dental problems, including dental caries and other issues, in the bud. Let’s look more closely at how the dental decay process starts and what you can do to keep it from happening to you and your chompers.

How Cavities Form

When you consume sugary foods or sugary drinks, the sugar begins to affect your mouth’s acidity immediately. The natural saliva in your mouth is acidic and works along with brushing to keep your mouth’s pH at a normally low level. This is the ideal environment for dental health. However, introduce sugar into the picture, and the saliva starts to disintegrate, driving up the pH level in your mouth and creating an environment that bacteria love. During these periods of imbalance, the acid eats into your teeth’s enamel, forming what we know as dental caries or cavities.

Sugar is Gingivitis’ Welcome Wagon

Eating sugar and drinking sugary drinks can also set the stage for the bacteria that cause gum diseases like gingivitis and conditions such as receding gums. These complicated dental issues can degrade the look of your teeth and are expensive to repair.

Are All Sugars Bad for Teeth?

The solid sugar crystals you may see in candy and gum create a sticky residue on your teeth that your saliva doesn’t just slough off. Absent proper brushing, this type of sugar clings to the teeth, causing enamel loss and, after so long, cavities. Corn syrup may be worse since it’s liquid in form and can get in all the cracks and crannies in the mouth.

What can you do? Stave off the effects of sugar on your teeth and gums by avoiding it whenever possible. 

Use a straw when you drink sugary beverages and sip water after meals until you can get to brush. Also, schedule bi-annual cleanings with your dentist to remove any buildup of plaque that can cause gum disease.

If you haven’t always taken the best care of your teeth, now’s the time to start. Avoid sugar where you can, brush and floss regularly, and see your regular or 24 hr dentist to fix any problems quickly, so your smile stays healthy and bright.