We all know that sugar has a negative impact on our teeth, but we often choose to ignore our sugar consumption. But the truth is that we must pay much more attention to how much sugar we eat to maintain better dental health.
Various areas across the world are facing sugar epidemics, leading to a range of health problems including, but not limited to, tooth decay. But how exactly does sugar damage our teeth? It’s worth looking at so we can better understand just how our teeth are affected by all the sugary foods and drinks that we consume.
How Does Sugar Affect Our Teeth?
While we may think sugar itself is the component that leads to tooth decay, that’s actually not the case. The dangers of sugar come from the reaction that occurs when they interact with certain types of bacteria in your mouth.
There are both good and bad bacteria in the mouth, and it’s the bad bacteria that reacts with the sugar in a way that leads to tooth decay, according to Healthline. When sugar enters the mouth, it serves as a catalyst, sparking a chemical reaction with cariogenic oral bacteria that create acids that damage tooth enamel.
Since enamel is the protective layer over our teeth, any damage to it leads to tooth decay and permanently damaged teeth. If cavities and decay are not addressed, it can cause pain and potential tooth loss, which can have ramifications of its own.
What Can We Do About It?
It would be impossible to eliminate sugar from our diet — nor would it be smart to — since foods ranging from bread to fruit to candy all contain sugar. That being said, we can take steps to limit our sugar intake through cutting out unnecessary products that aren’t good for us to begin with.
Things to avoid: soda, juice and sweets are products that we consume for their taste, but they aren’t necessary for a healthy diet. Cutting them out altogether probably isn’t a bad idea for the sake of your teeth, but if you’re going to continue consuming them, do so in moderation.
Of course, proper dental hygiene is absolutely essential to maintaining good dental health. Regular flossing and brushing teeth twice a day should be a daily routine, as it helps protect your teeth against harmful bacteria. Regular visits to the dentist are also a necessity, as your dentist will be able to address any concerns you may have and further protect your teeth against sugar and bacteria.