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Why is Sugar So Bad for Teeth?

oral health and diet

Dentists around the world have been telling us just how bad sugar is for our teeth for decades, but in the modern world of information overload at our fingertips online it can often seem 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? And just why is sugar so bad for our teeth anyway? Dr. Carter Perkins of Perkins Dentistry, a respected dental practice in Dunnellon, FL, hates to break it to you, but sugar is really as bad for your teeth as you’ve always been told.

Sugar Damages Your Teeth

There’s a reason dentists worldwide warn against excessive sugar intake: it eats away at your teeth. Every food we eat and every drink we drink leaves behind a residue on our teeth that feeds the naturally-occurring oral bacteria that live in our mouths. This residue — known in dental terms as plaque — builds up throughout the day and even while we sleep, and the only way to remove it is with a toothbrush and toothpaste and floss. If plaque and the bacteria that it feeds are not removed, the bacteria will destroy your tooth enamel while it eats the plaque, causing tooth decay. 

Eating too much sugar will allow the oral bacteria to thrive and reproduce, ruthlessly destroying your precious enamel as they do. Therefore, although sugar itself is not the cause of tooth decay, it assists the oral bacteria in destroying your teeth, weakening enamel and creating cavities. Only regular brushing (at least 2x daily), flossing (at least 1x daily) and dental check-ups (at least 1x every 6 months) can eliminate plaque and the bacteria that feed on it.

Sugar is Hiding in Most Food

There is sugar in most foods — even some that are typically thought of as healthy like fruit and some vegetables.  Many popular drinks such as soft drinks and sports drinks contain sugar as well. For Americans, the primary culprit behind tooth decay is the sugar added to nearly every processed food that is for sale everywhere. But whether from fruit, a soda or a donut, sugar can still cause tooth decay.

How to Help Your Teeth

We know that completely taking sugar out of your diet is impractical and wouldn’t be much fun — even dentists eat sugar! However, changing where you get your sugar is a great first step. Eating more fruits and vegetables with their natural sugars instead of eating processed foods is recommended. This step can greatly reduce the amount of sugar in your mouth while still allowing you to have a sweet snack, and it’s better for your overall health too.

Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to remove the bacteria that feed on sugar from your mouth and teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and keeping regular appointments with Dr. Perkins at Perkins Dentistry if you’re in the Dunnellon, FL area. To keep plaque and tooth decay under control, schedule a consultation online with Dr. Perkins or call (443) 482- 5202 today.