You probably already know that sugar can have a negative impact on your physical health. But you may not know the many adverse ways it can affect your teeth.
If you regularly consume sugar, you need to be vigilant about your dental health to protect your teeth from damage. Here, Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains five of the top ways sugar can affect your teeth.
The truth about sugar
It’s not that sugar in itself is bad for your teeth. Instead, it’s about the delicate balance of bacteria that are naturally occurring in your mouth and the impact sugar has on maintaining that balance.
Many different types of bacteria live in your mouth all the time. Some of these bacteria are harmless and beneficial, while others are more harmful. When you eat sugar, you change the balance of bacteria in your mouth, which allows the bad bacteria to take over.
How sugar can negatively impact your teeth
Let’s look at five ways that sugar can harm your oral health:
1. Bacterial infections
If you eat sugar, you may develop an imbalance of bacteria in your mouth. The bad bacteria can dominate your oral health, which can lead to bacterial infections.
Most of the time, these infections don’t present too many bothersome symptoms. However, they have the potential to cause problems before you know it.
2. Dental cavities
This bacterial imbalance often leads to dental cavities, also called dental caries. When you eat sugar or carbohydrates, your mouth produces acids that can eat away at your teeth.
These acids can wear a hole in your teeth, which causes dental cavities. If a cavity is detected early enough, it can be repaired by removing the cavity and replacing it with a filling to stabilize the tooth.
3. Dental crowns and bridges
Sometimes, a cavity isn’t caught early enough to be repaired with only a filling. Instead, you may need to get a crown or bridge to replace the surface of your tooth.
You may also need a crown or bridge if you’ve had dental cavities filled before. This can happen if the cavity continues to grow despite having a filling in place, or it can happen if your crown needs replacing too many times. (Most crowns only last for about 10 years.) Your tooth surface needs drilling each time the cavity is repaired, which weakens your tooth.
Consuming sugar can also remove minerals from your tooth enamel, which is the hard, shiny protective layer that covers your teeth. Normally, your mouth produces minerals like phosphate and calcium, which have a protective effect on your teeth.
Your saliva helps to fight the effects of demineralization, as do fluoridated toothpaste and fluoride treatments for children, but your teeth simply can’t withstand the effects of constant sugar intake.
5. Periodontal disease
If you consume sugar, you’re more likely to develop periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, happens when bad bacteria affect your gums.
Periodontal disease allows the bacteria to collect around your gum line, which can cause sore and bleeding gums, tooth loss, and bone disease. Gum disease also allows bad bacteria to get into your bloodstream, which can lead to serious complications like heart disease.
To avoid oral health complications that sugar can cause, schedule a dental cleaning or an oral health evaluation with our team as soon as possible. Contact our friendly office staff at Sokoly Dental today or book your visit online.