In today’s highly-processed food industry, sugar can be found in just about anything. If a product didn’t have sugar when it was picked or otherwise sourced, chances are that sugar will be added at some point before it ends up in your grocery cart.
We know that too much sugar is bad for the teeth — but what, exactly, are its effects on our teeth? Let’s find out.
4 Ways that Sugar Affects the Teeth
1. Sugar halts the natural repair process of your teeth.
Did you know that your teeth repair themselves? While they don’t grow back if you break them, they do undergo minor natural repair processes. One way that they do this is by remineralization, which is the process that restores and re-strengthens the enamel of your teeth.
Sugar destroys the minerals that make up your teeth, which is what makes the remineralization process necessary. Eating an excess of sugar lessens the positive impact of this process.
2. Sugar feeds harmful bacteria.
Your mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Unfortunately, sugar feeds bad bacteria and bad bacteria is what causes a plethora of dental issues ranging from simple cavities to severe rotting, gum disease, and tooth loss.
3. Sugar causes tooth decay.
As we mentioned, eating a lot of sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth. This bad bacteria is what causes tooth decay — also known as cavities.
4. Sugar can cause diabetic thrush.
For someone with diabetes, sugar can do much more than simply send their blood sugars out of whack. An excess of sugar can also lead to oral thrush, a condition that happens within the mouth and is characterized by fungus growing on the tissues within it.
How You Can Combat Excess Sugar
Despite all the havoc that sugar can cause within the mouth, there are, luckily, a few ways that you can fight against its effects on your teeth.
When brushing your teeth (which you should be doing twice daily) use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, and slows and prevents the tooth decay process.
Cutting back on sugary drinks.
Cutting back on sugary drinks is a great way to protect your teeth from sugar. After all, the sugar that you haven’t consumed can’t harm your teeth, right?
If you can, avoid the soda, juice, and other drinks that contain a ton of sugar. If you can’t completely escape the call of your favorite soda, opt to drink half of the amount that you normally would per day — and drink it all at one time instead of sipping throughout the day.
Ditch the snacks.
The same way you can ditch sugary drinks, consider ditching sugary snacks, too. Both will harm the enamel of the teeth and can lead to cavities.
Avoid sticky food.
Last but not least, we’d strongly urge you to avoid sticky, sugary foods. Because sticky foods are much harder to brush out of your mouth and off your teeth, the sugar in them tends to stick around longer — even with brushing.
Sugar can be a tough adversary. It causes a lot of problems within the mouth and can be incredibly hard to combat. However, combatting excess sugar and avoiding oral-health-related issues related to it doesn’t have to be hard. Simply follow any or all of the tips we’ve listed above — your teeth will thank you for it!