Do you know how sugar and your teeth interact? You’ve heard it all your life: eating sweets will rot your teeth. But while a diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities (as well as other medical problems, such as obesity), sugar itself isn’t the real culprit behind tooth decay. Dental cavities — also known as caries, the Latin word for “decay” — are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. Such debris might include the refined sugars found in cookies, candy and other treats, but can also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits. When digesting these carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with saliva to form that nasty stuff your dentist warned you about–plaque.
So, just what is the relationship between sugar and your teeth? How does sugar impact the health of your smile? When it comes to your teeth, it isn’t as much the amount of sugar you are consuming but how often you consume it. And, what you do after you consume it. Sugar that is consumed in the form of juices or sodas slips between your teeth into areas that can only be cleaned with a good flossing. Sometimes, even then, sugars can be hard to remove. While regular oral hygiene helps, those hard-to-reach sugars can augment the growth of hungry bacteria causing tooth decay and cavities. Foods high in sugar deposit large amounts of sugar residue on your teeth that don’t dissolve easily with your natural saliva production. Sugars left on your teeth lead to bacteria growth and harm tooth enamel.
It is impossible to avoid all sugar because a form of sugar is in most everything we eat. Your body uses sugars to produce the energy to power you through your day. But there are definitely things you can start to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet:
If you would like to learn more about sugar and your teeth–or habits for a healthier smile (and body)–call our office today! Mountain Aire Dentistry, located in Broomfield, CO is a general and family dentistry practice. We are passionate about helping you and your children achieve and maintain optimal oral health and a beautiful smile! We focus on prevention, tooth preservation, and awareness and make every effort to treat our patients the way we treat members of our own family. We offer comprehensive care for your dental needs in a relaxed and efficient atmosphere. We look forward to meeting you and your family! Call us today at (303) 731-7755 to make an appointment.