Why is Sugar the Leading Cause of Rotten Teeth?

Whether you’ve heard it from parents, dentists, or the media, we’ve all heard how bad sugar is for you. But why is the substance that we crave and love so horrible for our teeth?

Bacteria and yeast will feast on and thrive on the sugary treats we love. The bacteria who have made themselves comfortable in the crevices of your teeth will digest the sugar that you consume and excrete acid. This acid demineralizes the enamel which is a coating that protect your teeth. After you lose the enamel then eventually the bacteria will permanently damage that area and create tiny openings or holes in the teeth which will progressively get larger and affect deeper layers. This can cause pain, missing teeth, chewing problems, and many other very serious complications. Sugar can also lead to gum disease which, if untreated, may advance into other complications. Some of these complications are periodontitis, coronary artery disease, oral surgery, cosmetic surgery, etc.  

Ways to Protect Your Teeth From Sugar

1. Use a straw. If you chose to drink anything acidic or sugary make sure to use a straw to minimize the coating of your teeth. (Extra points for using a re-usable, or biodegradable straw).

2. Eat dairy. Dairy products are rich with calcium and protein which can help build and strength for your teeth. So, have that cheese!

3. Use fluoride. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride is “a naturally-occurring mineral that helps recent cavities in children and adults by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay”

4. Water. Water also prevents dry mouth, which will help saliva production. Saliva provides many elements that assist the enamel with a natural defense against the bacteria’s acid. Most tap water also contains fluoride.

5. Avoid sugar. Avoid exposure to sugar when possible by choosing non-sugar alternatives such as water or unsweetened tea.

6. Regularly visit your dentist. Although you can take many preventative measures, your personal dentist will be able to evaluate and help guide you in the steps necessary to have a healthy smile. The dentist will observe your mouth for signs of tooth decay, plaque buildup, and other dental issues. It is best to find out about any problems before they escalate so you can take the measures necessary and protect your oral health.  

If you would like to schedule an appointment with your local dentist please contact us at (480) 462-7350.

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