How Does Sugar Affect Your Teeth?

October 15, 2022

Now that Halloween is here, children and adults alike are bound to be consuming plenty of candy over the next week or two. Most of us enjoy sweets, but we also know that too much sugar is bad for the teeth. As you go trick-or-treating or attend Halloween parties this spooky season, we encourage you to practice moderation, maintain a robust oral health routine, and think about the effect sugar has on your teeth. Here is some information from the team at American Dental about sugar and how it can damage your teeth and gums:

Sugar and Your Oral Health

You may think of sugar as the enemy of your oral health, but it actually does not directly affect your teeth or gums. That’s right; sugar alone will not rot your teeth, as you may have heard. What sugar actually does is serve as a food source for all the bacteria that naturally reside in your mouth. Some of these bacteria are harmless, but others produce harmful byproducts as they go through their life cycle. These byproducts include acidic compounds that eat away at tooth enamel and remove calcium, phosphorus, and other materials from your teeth through a process known as demineralization.

Bacteria also affect your gum health. As bacteria live and die in your mouth, their remains settle in between the teeth, along the gumline, and in crevices on the tooth surfaces. Over time, if these dead bacteria are not removed through brushing and flossing, they become calcified, which irritates the soft gum tissue. This calcified material is known as tartar, and it causes the gums to recede, exposing the soft tooth roots. If left untreated, this condition can progress into gingivitis or even periodontitis.

Fighting the Harmful Effects of Sugar

While your body does have a natural mechanism for keeping bacterial growth in check, it can only do so much. Saliva will wash away a certain amount of bacteria, and it can even serve as a medium to bring calcium and phosphorus to your teeth in the remineralization process. While this does slow the progression of tooth decay and gum disease, your body needs a little help to keep bacterial growth in check. 

The best thing to do if you want to avoid the harmful effects of sugar on your oral health is to maintain a regular routine of brushing twice daily, flossing every day, using mouthwash, and scheduling a dental checkup every 6 months. During times like Halloween, when you may be consuming more sugar than usual, be sure to drink plenty of water to enhance your body’s natural bacteria-fighting abilities. It’s also a good idea to brush your teeth before heading to bed on trick-or-treat night, or after attending a Halloween party. 

Best Dentist in Chicagoland

If you are a big fan of candy, you may want to schedule a checkup after this Halloween season. American Dental has 8 different locations in the Chicagoland area, so get in touch with us if you are interested in dental cleanings in River West Chicago or anywhere else nearby. Click “Make an Appointment” to find a list of our locations and call or fill out the online form to schedule your appointment today!

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