We all like to indulge in a sugary sweet once in a while! Unfortunately, though, sugar can do a bit more damage to our oral health than we would like. So before you take a bite into your next dessert, be sure to read these five important facts about sugar.
1. Sugar feeds dental plaque.
Your mouth is filled with bacteria, including the harmful bacteria hidden in dental plaque. These bacteria actually feed off of the sugar in your foods in order to sustain and, once they’re done, they excrete acids that wreak havoc on the dental enamel that covers your tooth. This leads us to our next fact that you should know…
2. Eating sugar can lead to tooth pain.
There’s truth to the old belief that “sugar will rot your teeth.” After the bacteria feasts on the sugars in your food, the acids they secrete can wear down on the enamel. Over time, this begins to create a hole in the enamel, also known as a cavity, to ultimately expose the dentin that lies beneath. Dentin is the soft layer within your tooth that is filled with microscopic tunnels that provide access to the nerve. With your nerve exposed like this, anything from cold air to eating hot foods can be painful!
3. Excess sugar may cost you more money in healthcare!
If tooth decay isn’t enough incentive to skip the sweets, perhaps you might consider the effect of sugar on your bank account. Studies have shown that the more sugar you consume, the more money you will spend on dental care. In fact, with just one additional glass of lemonade a day (or 2 tablespoons of sugar), you would add 100 dollars to your dental care expenses per year!
4. It’s hiding in foods you wouldn’t expect.
Unfortunately, sugar isn’t just hiding in the obvious treats like soda, candy, and energy drinks. You’ll find added it in low-fat yogurt, ketchup, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, baked beans, canned soup, and more! Next time your grocery shopping, check out the content on the nutrition label to see just how much you might be consuming.
5. You don’t have to give it up entirely.
Yes, the best way to avoid the negative side effects from sugar is to avoid it as much as possible. However, if you indulge every now and then, there are ways to minimize the damage. Consider taking the following steps after your next sweet:
- Brush your teeth immediately after eating. The acids that are released after you consume sugar do the most damage within 20 minutes of your first bite. Brushing right away helps to rid your mouth of the acids before it can do any damage.
- Try chewing (sugar-free) gum. More specifically, gum that contains Xylitol which helps to protect your teeth from cavities and boost your saliva production.
- Drink water. The fluoride in water prevents and even reverses tooth decay. Drink lots of water throughout the day to maintain your oral health.
- Avoid the candies that last a while. Hard candies are a good example of a sweet to avoid. It rests on your teeth for longer, providing more sugar to the bacteria in your teeth. Not to mention you won’t be able to brush your teeth before the acid starts wearing down your enamel.
If you think you would like to prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues, call Manus Dental today to set up an appointment. We’ll happily get you back on track to good oral health!