How Sugar Decays Our Teeth

For anyone with a sweet tooth, there’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into your favorite pastry or candy. sugar seems to tickle your taste buds and when it hits your brain, it accelerates your blood like fuel to a car. Unfortunately, your weakness to sugary goodness can end up having terrible effects on your oral health. These effects can turn your strong, healthy teeth into a bunch of discolored, broken pieces of enamel. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to keep your stunning smile pain-free.

At most, when you finish eating something sweet, you might feel the need to brush your teeth right away, but the truth is that the sugar begins its work the second it touches your teeth. Not all sugars are created equal, and sucrose is a lot worse for your teeth because it sticks to our saliva and any of the bacteria in your mouth as soon as it hits your mouth. Even if you brush your teeth right after eating it, sucrose aids in the mixture of protein and carbohydrate molecules (glycoproteins), which stick to your teeth forming plaque.  Streptococcus mutans of these bacteria because they are responsible for creating cavities. Streptococcus naturally occurs, but this bacterium doesn’t do well with sucrose. If left to their own devices, the bacteria undergo a process called glycolysis and results in the formation of lactic acid. Lactic acid eats away at the calcium phosphate found in teeth and dissolves tooth enamel, which will inevitably lead to cavities.

Brushing your teeth is just the start of taking care of your oral health. You can also rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after eating or drinking something sugary, especially when you don’t have access to a toothbrush. Try to brush three times a day, never less than twice, and make sure to floss, which can help get all the sugar, plaque, bacteria, and other debris out of your teeth in hard to reach areas, especially the hard-to-reach gaps where cavities love to form.

Sugary foods and drinks are appealing, and consuming sugar is a hard habit to quit. But, it’s actually entirely possible due to the amount low-sugar and sugar-free treats and drinks available to us. If you find that it is hard to cut sugar cold turkey, you can moderate the intake of your favorite treats, and look for tastier and healthier substitutions. Little by little, you will be able to wean yourself off of sugar you consume each day, like putting less and less sugar into your daily coffee or tea. Do this until you are drinking it without sugar. This will be a difficult and long process, but think about what you will be gaining. Your teeth thank you and your body will too.

Try this method with the foods and drinks you consume each day. If you make lemonade, try using less sugar when you make it. If you are baking cakes or other desserts, adjust your recipe so it has less sugar. Trust us, your teeth will be happy! And if it has been more than a year since your last dental checkup, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment at Foothill Dental Care in Livermore. No matter your age, getting a teeth cleaning and oral check-up can help you prevent bacteria buildup in the mouth and help you maintain overall health. Call Foothill Dental Care at (925) 961-5484 to schedule an appointment today.