Before adding that extra packet of sugar to your coffee or eating another donut for dessert you may want to think about what will happen to your teeth and oral health. Consuming too much sugar can cause all types of dental problems from teeth sensitivity to cavities. In honor of Sugar Awareness Week, we will give you a general overview of what exactly happens to your teeth and mouth when you eat sugar and provide you with suggestions on how you can reduce your sugar intake.
The Chain Reaction Caused by Eating Sugary Foods and Sweet Treats
A surprising fact about sugar that not everyone knows is it isn’t the one that causes cavities. Yes, consuming too much sugar will eventually lead to extensive tooth decay and cavities, but it isn’t the actual sugar that causes these problems. It is the acids created by your mouth when you eat sugar that destroys your teeth.
The inside of your mouth is filled with hundreds of different types of bacteria. Some of the bacteria in your mouth are good; some of the bacteria are bad. When you consume sugar, especially in large quantities, the harmful bacteria start to feed off the sugar in your mouth. As the bacteria feeds off the sugar it creates a destructive acid.
The destructive acid is so powerful that it can wear away at the outer layer of your teeth. The outer layer, known as enamel, protects your teeth. When it wears down, it causes tooth sensitivity and eventually leads to the development of holes which turn into cavities.
Saliva Helps to Repair Your Teeth After an Acid Attack
The saliva in your mouth is designed to help neutralize the acids that are attacking your teeth. Increasing or stimulating saliva production can help dramatically reduce the amount of damage your mouth experiences as a result of consuming too much sugar. Unfortunately, it doesn’t completely fix the problem.
If you consume too much sugar, your mouth never gets a chance to let the saliva work to repair the damage caused by the acid. This is why it is so important that you make an effort to reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
Examples of How to Reduce Your Sugar Consumption
You don’t have to completely cut out sugar from your diet if you want to improve your oral health. You just have to consume sugar in moderation.
The following are some examples of how you can reduce your sugar intake so you can enjoy that occasional sweet treat without worrying about it damaging your teeth:
- Pass on the drinks filled with sugar. Sodas, lemonades, fruit juices, flavored coffee drinks, and fruit punches all have high amounts of sugar.
- Eat freshly made foods. Processed food often has a lot of hidden sugar added to it to preserve it. Eating freshly prepared meals that are filled with fruits, vegetables, and meats can help you cut back on some of your sugar consumption.
- Choose healthier snack options. Instead of reaching for a candy bar or cookie when you have a craving for sweets, pick fruit. Fruit is healthier for you, has the sweetness you need, and it doesn’t contain high amounts of sugar.
Take the Sugar Challenge
It might seem impossible that you can dramatically cut back on the amount of sugar you consume, but it isn’t that difficult. In fact, we encourage you to take part in a 5-day sugar challenge.
During the 5-day sugar challenge, you will make an effort to just say ‘no’ to sugar. Using the suggestions provided above, you will be able to dramatically reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
After the 5-day challenge has ended, you will be surprised at how effortless it was to cut back on the amount of sugar you consume. Once you realize how easy it is to not consume large amounts of sugar, you will be able to do it on a regular basis.
If you want to learn more about how sugar impacts your teeth or you are looking for help on ways you can protect your teeth, schedule an appointment at Hancock Village Dental. Our friendly office staff will gladly help you figure out how to reduce your sugar intake or answer any questions you might have about the dangers of consuming too much sugar.