Dentists across the globe have been telling us how bad sugar is for our teeth for decades, but in today’s world of information overload at our fingertips online it sometimes seems like what is good and bad for you is constantly changing. So is it possible that sugar isn’t so bad for our teeth as we thought?
Why is sugar bad for our teeth anyway? Dr. Vernon Sheen, a dentist of Annapolis, MD, has some bad news for you: sugar is really as bad for your teeth as you’ve been told.
Sugar Damages Your Teeth
There’s a perfectly good reason dentists have always warned against eating too much sugar: it destroys your tooth enamel. The food that we eat leaves behind particles that can combine with our saliva to form plaque — a clear, sticky substance on our teeth that the bacteria that live in our mouths like to feed on. This bacteria is usually harmless but can start the process of tooth decay if not treated.
Only regular brushing (at least 2x daily), flossing (at least 1x daily) and dental check-ups (at least 1x every 6 months) can remove this plaque and the bacteria that feed on it. If allowed to flourish, this bacteria will eat through not only the plaque but will continue on into the enamel too, causing cavities.
Eating too much sugar will allow the oral bacteria to efficiently and ruthlessly destroy your precious enamel. Therefore, although sugar itself is not the cause of tooth decay, it ramps up the oral bacteria’s ability to destroy your teeth by creating cavities and weakening enamel.
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
Dr. Sheen knows that completely eliminating sugar from your diet is not a viable option — even dentists like something sweet sometimes! However, changing where your sugar comes from is a great first step. Substituting fruits and vegetables for processed snacks can significantly reduce the amount of sugar in your mouth while still allowing you the taste of something sweet, and it’s better for your body 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. Vernon Sheen or your area dentist. To keep plaque and tooth decay under control, schedule a consultation online with Dr. Sheen or call (443) 482- 5202 today.