Dentists have been warning us about the dangers of sugar to our teeth for decades, but health information is always changing. One day something is bad and the next it’s good, so could that be true for sugar and our teeth, too? Dr. Jeremi Arroyo, a Washington, DC dentist, has some bad news for you: sugar is really as bad for your teeth as you’ve been told.
Sugar Damages Your Teeth
Everything we eat and drink leaves residue on our teeth, even if we can’t see it. This residue combines with naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth, which builds up to form plaque. The only way to remove plaque is by brushing and flossing, which is why you’ve heard advice about brushing your teeth after meals.
Some bacteria flourish in dark, moist environments, so making sure your teeth are brushed both before bed and in the morning will minimize plaque buildup while your mouth is closed during sleep. If left alone, plaque will destroy the hard outer layer of the teeth called the enamel, causing tooth decay.
Sugar feeds oral bacteria, allowing it to thrive in the mouth. Oral bacteria already eat away at tooth enamel, and feeding them sugar makes them more efficient at this. While sugar itself is not the cause of tooth decay, it accelerates oral bacteria’s ability to destroy your teeth by creating cavities and weakening enamel.
Sugar is Hiding in Most Food
Nearly everything we eat has sugar, and so do many beverages. Even fruits and vegetables contain sugar, which bacteria love. The primary culprit of American tooth decay, however, is the sugar hiding in all of the processed food we consume.
Regardless of the source, sugar still accelerates tooth decay.
How to Help Your Teeth
We know that completely eliminating sugar from your diet is impractical — even dentists consume sugar! Changing the source of your sugar is a great first step. Eating more fruits and vegetables instead of processed food will significantly reduce the amount of sugar in your mouth, and it’s better for your overall health.
Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to remove plaque from the teeth. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and keeping regular appointments with Dr. Arroyo. To keep plaque and tooth decay under control, schedule a consultation with us today.