Indulging in sugary treats as a reward or simply satisfying a craving is quite common. However, the joy is short-lived but the consequences (cavities, tooth decay) ruin oral health for the long run. Stay with us to learn how bad sugar is for your teeth, and what dental care experts can do to help.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities are holes in your tooth enamel that develop due to the erosion of enamel by acids. They form when plaque accumulates on the teeth and interacts with sugars and starches from food, leading to the production of acids that damage the enamel and create holes in the teeth. If left untreated, cavities worsen, potentially causing pain, sensitivity, and even infections like tooth abscesses.

Does Consuming Sugar Increase The Risk of Developing Cavities?

Yes, indulging frequently in items that are high in sugar significantly increases the risk of developing cavities. Here is an explanation of why this happens:

  1. Sugar Reacts with Cavity-Causing Bacteria
    Sugar is bad for your teeth because the bacteria in your mouth feeds on it and produces acids. This acid attacks and weakens the tooth enamel, slowly dissolving it over time.
  2. Frequent Snacking Prolongs Acid Exposure
    If you are habitual of snacking on sugary foods and sipping on drinks throughout the day, you expose teeth to acids for longer periods. This gives the bacteria more time to cause damage to the enamel.
  3. Sticky Foods Stick Longer
    Foods like hard candies, lollipops, potato chips, etc., tend to stick on the teeth for a long time. This leads to gradual release of sugars that bacteria thrives on leading to enamel erosion.
  4. Sugary Drinks Increase Cavity Risk
    Sugary soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and juices are common sources of liquid sugar. These beverages also contain high levels of acids that can directly contribute to tooth decay. Drinking one or more sugary drinks per day has been linked to a higher risk of cavities and tooth loss.

Does Your Mouth Protect Your Teeth Naturally From Decay?

Although your oral cavity offers some level of protection, it is not enough. Your mouth itself is incapable of averting the chance of developing cavities on your teeth due to sugar unless you brush.

Saliva’s Protective Role

Saliva washes away sugars and food debris from the teeth and works to neutralize acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. You may think that this is sufficient to reduce their damaging effects on tooth enamel; however, their presence is not nearly enough.

How Oral Hygiene Changes Everything

A proper oral hygiene regime prevents cavities on teeth due to sugar intake. Your routine should include regular brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Moreover, flossing is an essential addition too to remove plaque and food debris since they can erode enamel causing decay.

Other than that, regular dental check-ups are also crucial since it gives dentists access to detect any dental issues early on, preventing them from progressing. Using fluoride toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water strengthens teeth enamel and protects against acid erosion.

Additional Preventive Measures

Dental sealants are a good preventive measure for children and adults alike. This involves applying a protective layer to the chewing surfaces of back teeth to create a barrier against bacteria and food particles. This lack of reaction reduces the risk of decay in these vulnerable areas since they are hard to clean and have pits, too. Professional fluoride treatments and supplemental fluoride further strengthen teeth. Along with that, keeping up with your hydration level is also important to have a good saliva flow, which is crucial for protecting teeth from decay by washing away food particles and neutralizing acids.

How Can Dental Professionals Help?

Although sugar is bad for your teeth, that does not mean you should eradicate it entirely; practice moderation and cleaning. However, there are still chances, even with proper care, to develop cavities in certain hard-to-reach areas. Worry not; dentists are here to help.

Diagnosing Cavities

Treatment Options

Prevention Techniques

Closing Note

In a nutshell, since sugar is bad for your teeth, limit its intake, maintain oral hygiene, and regularly go for professional cleanings and check-ups. If you have more questions regarding this or any services we offer, get in touch with Dr. Amjad Sheikh at Trinity Dental Centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field, and his team is just a call away to help you with all your dental needs. Dial (281) 724-4510 to connect with us.

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