We are all familiar with the fact that sugar and cavities are directly related, but not all patients know why that is the case. In essence, sugar aides in the growth of bad bacterias and acids in your mouth that cause tooth decay. Here, we will walk you through the process your mouth goes through when ingesting sugar, like a soft drink or candy bar, and what you can do to prevent tooth decay.
What happens to your teeth when you eat sugar?
When you eat or drink something full of sugar, like a candy bar or an energy drink, the sugar in those items mix with the saliva in your mouth. Your mouth naturally has bacteria in it, and when you eat sugar, the bacteria feed on the sugar and causes your mouth to be more acidic. The acids in your mouth are harmful to your teeth and can attack your teeth and gums for up to 20 minutes after ingestion.
When this happens, your mouth becomes more prone to harmful bacteria growth. This can lead to problems with tooth decay, like cavities between your teeth or under your gums, and gum disease.
What can you do to prevent tooth decay and gum disease?
The best way to prevent gum disease and tooth decay from eating sugar is to eat a healthier diet. It is okay to indulge in a sugary snack every now and then, but try to avoid it when you can. Studies have shown that dropping your sugar intake to less than 10% of your daily calorie intake decreases your risk of tooth decay.
Another way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. It is also important to see your dentist every 6 months. Regular dental cleanings are important to make sure all the plaque and tartar you can’t reach with regular brushing and flossing gets cleaned out. This is also a time for dentists to catch any issues before they become too serious, like the onset of gum disease.
At Downtown Dental Group, we aim to educate our patients to help them make decisions about how to achieve optimal oral health. To schedule your next dental cleaning, call us a 785.776.0097 or submit an appointment request.