Health information is always changing, but one constant remains the same: sugar is bad for our teeth. Dentists have been warning us about sugar for decades. What makes it so dangerous to our teeth, and is it really that bad? Dr. Christopher Banks of Capital Cosmetic Dentistry in Chevy Chase, MD has some bad news for you: sugar really is that bad.
Sugar Damages Your Teeth
The reason that dentists have warned against too much sugar is simple: sugar destroys your teeth.
The food we eat leaves residue behind on our teeth, which combines with naturally-occuring oral bacteria to form plaque. Plaque is the sticky film that builds up on your teeth every day that you brush away. If left on the teeth, plaque continues to build up and will eventually harden on the teeth, destroying enamel and exposing the sensitive tissues underneath, forming cavities.
Sugar accelerates this process. Oral bacteria feed off of sugar left behind in food particles, and too much of it makes the decay process happen faster. Even the best brushing and flossing routine can’t compensate for consuming too much sugar.
Sugar is Hiding in Most Food
Much of the American diet has hidden sugars, so don’t feel guilty if you’re having trouble reducing your family’s sugar consumption. Almost every food on the shelf has sugar added to it, and many drinks contain it, too. Even fruits and vegetables have sugar, but the primary culprit of tooth decay is the sugar found in the processed food in the pantry — since most of us don’t brush our teeth immediately after eating, the sugar left behind feeds the bacteria in our mouths, especially in those hard-to-reach places between our teeth!
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, paying special attention to hard-to-reach places like between the teeth, back of the mouth, and close to the gums. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and keeping regular appointments with Dr. Banks.
To keep plaque and tooth decay under control, schedule a consultation with Dr. Banks today.