We all know that sugar is bad for us, yet we continue to eat it. Perhaps it’s an addiction, or maybe we lack self-control. While sugar has many adverse effects on our overall health, there are many ways that sugar affects your teeth and gums. Your overall health is connected to your dental health, so it is essential to do everything you can to maintain and restore oral health.
Sugar Changes Mouth AcidityDid you know that the sugar you eat affects the PH balance of your mouth? Your natural saliva is acidic, and when combined with regular tooth brushing it can maintain a low PH level, which creates an environment for optimal tooth and gum health. When you consume sugar, your saliva interacts and begins to break it down. As the naturally occurring bacteria in your saliva mix with the sugar, they create acid, which drives up the PH. This imbalance can lead to a more acidic environment in your mouth. The acid levels can remain elevated for twenty minutes or more, and during this time that acid begins to eat into the enamel of your teeth, creating dental caries, also known as cavities.
Sugar Also Leads to Bacterial GrowthThese toxic and destructive acids created when you consume sugary foods and drinks also form a friendly environment for an unwelcome guest: the hordes of tiny bacteria that lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis and in turn, receding gums and the need complex procedures to repair the damage. Most of us can’t avoid sugar entirely, so it is critical to practice proper dental hygiene and schedule regular dental checkups.
Effects of Solid Sugars, Such as White Processed Sugar
Sugar comes in many forms, and the first one that comes to mind is solid sugar crystals, such as those found in food, gum, and candy. These non-liquid sugars are harmful because they leave a large amount of sticky residue on your teeth that is too strong for your saliva to wash away. The adverse effects of sugars are made worse by the highly concentrated and processed nature the ingredients found in many popular processed foods.