Most people are aware of the dangers that sugars pose to dental health. On a basic level, people understand that consuming too much sugar is bad for their teeth. The question is, why? Why is sugar such a harmful substance, and what role does it play in oral health?
In this article, we’ll cover a few key points that will help you to understand why sugar is bad for your teeth, and what you can do to improve your oral hygiene.
Sugar Leads To Plaque
Plaque is a key risk factor for your dental health as it can quickly lead to tooth decay. Decay happens when your teeth get coated in dental plaque, and it isn’t removed fast enough. It’s found that sugar – along with any other fermentable carbohydrate – can lead to plaque building up on your teeth.
When plaque is left on the teeth for too long, and it continues to build up, tooth decay will cause cavities. In essence, these are holes in your teeth that can become infected. If decay is extremely bad, it can get down into the root, which usually leads to complicated and expensive dental procedures.
Sugar leads to decay because it has bacteria within it. These bacteria increase acids, which damage the surface of your teeth. If something isn’t done about this, then the damage gets progressively worse until cavities or infections are born.
Sugar Consumption Frequency Is Problematic
Reducing your sugar consumption is obviously highly recommended. However, it’s also vital to ensure you reduce the frequency with which you eat sugary foods. If you eat foods containing sugar in one sitting, this would actually not be as bad for your teeth as eating foods with sugar throughout the day.
When you continuously keep snacking on sugar, it disrupts the way your mouth protects itself. You keep creating imbalances in the acidity levels, meaning your saliva doesn’t get a chance to wash away the sugar and protect your teeth.
It’s suggested that leaving a few hours between meals helps decrease the chances of plaque build-up. This time allows your saliva to work how it should, giving your teeth the protection they need.
Oral Hygiene Tips To Combat Sugar
Below, we have a few top tips to improve your oral hygiene and reduce the impact of sugar on your teeth:
- Firstly, reduce your consumption of sugary foods/drinks. Avoid eating sweets, stop drinking lots of fizzy drinks, and check out sugar content on food and snack labels.
- If you do want to eat sugary treats, try and make sure you have them after meals to give your teeth a rest and help prevent acidity imbalances.
- Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to help protect your teeth and stimulate saliva production. This will also help remove sugar from your teeth, stopping the build-up of plaque. Check out our article: is chewing gum good for teeth.
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day to ensure any plaque is removed before it solidifies and turns into decay. Fluoride toothpaste is very effective in preventing tooth decay, so always make sure you are using a toothpaste that includes fluoride.
- Using interdental brushes to get between your teeth and remove any plaque from areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
Seeing Your Dentist
In conclusion, sugar plays a significant role in the production of plaque and dental decay. Too much sugar – consumed too frequently – will lead to decay, then cavities. This will result in fillings, crowns, or even root canal treatment.
To protect your teeth, reduce sugar consumption and follow the oral hygiene tips listed above. On top of this, always make sure you visit your dentist at least twice a year to keep your teeth and gums in the healthiest of conditions.
If you are based in the Plymouth, Devon area, then give The Mead Dental Practice a call today on 01752 224880 to book a routine examination where we can diagnose and treat any problem, from cavities to infections and gum disease.