As Halloween quickly approaches, children will soon be running through their front doors with bags full of candy. While this is exciting for the children, parents may wonder if this sugar is bad for your teeth or if this is a myth they’ve been told.
Our team at Hendersonville Family Dental wants everyone to understand the relationship between sugar and your teeth so they may make their most informed decision about choosing to consume this ingredient.
Why Sugar Is Bad For Your Teeth
While you sip a fruit juice or eat a tasty dessert, you probably aren’t thinking about how sugar is bad for your teeth. But the truth is, if you aren’t careful, sugar can have a detrimental effect on your teeth and overall oral health. Sugar does the most damage if it is allowed to sit in your mouth for extended periods of time.
If you consume sugar and don’t brush your teeth, it combines with saliva, turning into plaque build-up on your teeth. Over time, this build-up can lead to tooth decay or loss, and significantly diminish your oral health. You should brush your teeth as soon as possible after consuming sugar to protect your teeth from this unnecessary damage.
Are There Foods Or Beverages You Should Avoid?
Because excess sugar is bad for your teeth, there are some foods we recommend avoiding to protect them. It is generally recommended that you avoid eating anything with high sugar content to protect your teeth. This can include sugary beverages, such as fruit juice, soda, and alcoholic beverages. You should also try to avoid over-consumption of overly sugary desserts and foods.
You certainly don’t need to cut out sugar cold turkey. However, if you want your teeth to look their best and maintain great oral hygiene, they should be avoided when possible, and you should brush after consuming sugar-rich substances to prevent cavities.
Are Sugar Alternatives Better For Your Teeth?
Sugar alternatives have slowly become much more popular among everyday consumers. But if sugar is bad for your teeth, then are sugar alternatives better for your teeth? The answer is that while sugar alternatives aren’t as bad for your teeth as sugar, they aren’t good for your teeth either.
Many sugar alternatives on the market contain their own acids, which can also lead to cavity development, tooth decay, and tooth loss. They may also lead to enamel wearing down if they are over-consumed. While sugar is bad for your teeth, alternatives should be avoided in excess as well.
Does Sugar Affect Your Gums?
We’ve talked a lot about why sugar is bad for your teeth but haven’t mentioned the impact it may have on the health of your gums. Your gums offer support and nourishment to your teeth and are crucial to good oral hygiene. Much like your teeth, consuming sugar can also be bad for your gums. But it isn’t the sugar doing the harm.
The bacteria left behind by the sugar leads to substantial problems. Excessive sugar consumption, which leads to the development of this bacteria, is responsible for the development of gum disease and cavities. Over time, you may find your gums becoming inflamed and irritated. To prevent this, you should do your best to avoid excess sugar and brush and rinse your mouth after consumption.
How Does Sugar Affect Baby Teeth?
Some studies have suggested that children crave sugar during growth spurts. Additionally, children crave sugar and salt at higher levels than adults. But just because they crave these foods doesn’t mean they are good for them or their teeth. Just like sugar is bad for your teeth, it is just as bad, if not worse, for your child’s teeth.
While the enamel on adult teeth is hardened, it is much softer on baby teeth. Because they are so soft, baby teeth are more susceptible to decay. If your child consumes a great deal of sugar, they are more likely to experience cavities and irritations. Limiting sugar intake and ensuring your child is brushing well after consumption is best.
What Can You Do To Avoid Damage Caused By Sugar?
Because sugar is bad for your teeth, you should do everything in your power to protect them from the damage it causes and there are several things you can do. The first tip we have is to limit snacking when possible. When you snack, try to avoid snacks that are mostly sugar. Instead of snacking on gummy candies, choose to snack on pretzels or veggie sticks. If you are craving sugar, try dark chocolate. It contains less sugar than milk chocolate and may stop bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
You may also rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugar to remove any bacteria that may be lingering. Finally, as we have mentioned throughout this blog, the best thing you can do to prevent damage from sugar is to brush your teeth after consumption. Wait 30 to 60 minutes after you’ve eaten so you don’t cause damage to your enamel. Then, brush for two minutes to wash away all unnecessary bacteria.
Protecting Your Teeth With Hendersonville Family Dental
The best thing you can do to protect your teeth is to ensure you get regular cleanings from a trusted dental team. At Hendersonville Family Dental, our team of dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists are ready to help you through any oral health problems you may have. We know sugar is bad for your teeth, but cutting it out of your diet entirely is an unrealistic expectation. But we are confident that we can make the process of visiting the dentist to prevent damage from sugar consumption a less intimidating process.
If you have any questions about the relationship between sugar and your oral health or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.