Why Sugar Is Bad for Your Dental Health
Enjoying a few cookies or candy might not seem like a big deal, but the sugar in these foods can harm your teeth. If you eat sweet foods frequently, you could wind up with a dental emergency. Sugar can cause serious harm to your teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay, gum inflammation, gum disease, and other dental problems. Here’s what you need to know.
Effects of Sugar on Dental Health
What does sugar do to your teeth? The molecules in sugar mix with bacteria and saliva, resulting in plaque formation, which can wear away your tooth enamel. Enamel is a layer on your teeth that protects them. When this layer wears away, it’s easier for bacteria to invade and damage your teeth. When this happens, cavities and/or tooth decay occur.
What can sugar do to your gums? When you eat foods with sugar, you have a higher risk of bacteria building up on your gums. This can lead to gum inflammation, gingivitis, and gum disease. Periodontitis, or gum disease, can cause your gums to recede and lead to tooth loss. Untreated gum disease also puts the rest of your body at risk of a bacterial infection if the bacteria in your gums spreads to other areas.
What can sugar do to your mouth? Eating a diet high in sugar also changes the acidity of your mouth. Bacteria mixing with saliva creates a more acidic environment in your mouth than a healthier one. These acids can erode tooth enamel and increase your risk of tooth and gum problems.
Sugar and Dental Emergencies
How can sugar lead to a dental emergency? Consuming sugar regularly or frequently increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Severe tooth decay can lead to infections, which can become life-threatening without prompt treatment. You might also experience serious pain and discomfort as a result. Your teeth might also become more prone to damage, such as cracks, as tooth enamel wears away. Gum problems, such as inflammation or disease, are also considered dental emergencies if they lead to severe pain, fever, and other signs of infection.
Preventing Dental Problems
Avoid or limit the consumption of sugary foods and beverages to prevent tooth and gum damage. Staying away from these foods and drinks helps prevent plaque buildup from occurring, which helps lower your risk of tooth decay or cavities. Limiting or avoiding sugar in your diet also helps reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
Remember that sugar isn’t just in soda, candy, and cookies. Processed foods and foods with refined carbs, such as white bread, can also contain sugar. Read labels carefully at the store to avoid buying foods that contain a lot of sugar or added sugar. If possible, you should completely avoid sticky, sugary foods and drinks, such as caramel, since these coat your teeth with sugar that can be hard to remove.
If you consume foods or beverages containing sugar, you should brush your teeth and floss as soon as possible when you finish eating or drinking. Brushing and flossing help remove sugar on your teeth and gums, which helps keep bacteria at bay and lowers your risk of tooth decay and gum problems. If you cannot brush and floss right away after having sugar, you should at least drink water to help rinse off your teeth and gums.
Routine dental cleanings and exams are another important part of preventing sugar from damaging teeth and gums. Regular cleanings remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, lowering your risk of dental emergencies. During these visits, dentists can also check for signs of gum disease or other problems that should be treated as soon as possible.
If you have a dental emergency and are looking for a responsive dentist in Mesa or Phoenix, contact Dental Brothers immediately. We can provide prompt care to ease severe toothaches or other dental emergencies. And to prevent future emergencies, call us to schedule a routine exam sooner rather than later.