Odds are, you have been hearing about how sugar is bad for you teeth since your first dentist visit.
Yes, it is true sugar is not only bad for your health, it is also bad for your teeth. However, it is not really the sugar that does the damage to your teeth, it is what happens inside of your mouth once you eat the sugar that is damaging.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent sugar from harming your teeth. We will talk about this in a little bit.
First we are going to explain why sugar can be harmful to your teeth. This will be a surprise to most people.
Understanding How Sugar Harms your Teeth
Inside of your mouth, there is a lot going on. There are different types of bacteria’s in your mouth that play different roles. Some bacteria’s are healthy for your teeth and others not so much.
What happens when sugar is introduced to your mouth, is that some of the bacteria reacts to the sugar and this actually produces acid.
Often times, this acid just sits in your mouth, on your teeth doing damage. While the acid is sitting on your teeth it is striping your tooth’s enamel of its minerals (demineralization). The enamel of your tooth is the white, hard, protective layer.
If you eat a lot of sugar, or the formed acid sits on your teeth for long periods of time, it will actually begin to decay your teeth.
This will result in cavities, sensitive teeth, and yellowing of teeth.
The reason your teeth can become yellow is due to the fact that the acid has actually worn through enough of your enamel that your dentin is showing.
Dentin is the layer underneath your enamel and has a yellowish tint. The amount of yellow is worse in some people than it is others. Also, an important thing to note…. you cannot use any type of teeth whitening product to whiten your teeth if your dentin is showing and causing them to appear yellow. This is because dentin cannot be whitened.
This means if you want a bright white smile, you really need to be careful and protect your tooth’s enamel.
To make things worse, when you eat sugar, you are actually attracting more bad bacteria’s inside of your mouth. These bad bacteria’s feed on the sugars you put in your mouth, so you need to get the sugar and harmful bacteria’s out of your mouth soon after eating them.
We will talk about some ways to do this in a little bit.
The Kind of Foods and Diet Habits That Put You at Risk
Here is a quick look at a few foods and habits that increase your risk of having sugar harm your teeth.
Drinks High in Sugar
This includes sodas, fruity drinks, sports drinks, and some juices. If you are someone who consumes 4 sodas a day, more than likely sugar is harming your teeth.
It might not be noticeable right now, but in the future you might run into some of the issues we talked about above.
Instead of drinking sugar filled drinks all day, it is a good idea to substitute them with water or lemon water.
Snack Time Filled with Sugar
If you like to snack, you should make sure you are not just eating snacks packed with sugar. Instead of cookies, candy bars, and debbie cakes for your snack, try eating some mixed nuts, beef jerky, vegetables etc. instead.
Sucking on Candies all Day
This is a bad habit. If you are constantly sucking on lolipops, mints, tic tacs, lifesavers etc all day long, then you might want to think long and hard about what you are doing to your teeth.
This means that all day long you are creating and attracting more harmful bacteria’s into your mouth. More than likely these bacteria’s and sugars are covering your teeth and sitting on them all day long every single day.
Sugars Before Bed
It is very important to brush your teeth right before bed. Eating a sugary snack consisting of chocolate chip cookies and milk right before bed without brushing means that sugar and bad bacteria will sit on your teeth doing damage all night long.
A Few Tips to Prevent Sugar From Harming your Teeth
By following these helpful tips, you will dramatically reduce the impact that sugar has on your teeth.
Cut Out Sugary Drinks and Sugary Foods
We will start with the most obvious solution. Just cut out as much sugar as you can. This will have a dramatic impact on the health of your teeth as well as your body and overall health.
Replace sugary drinks with water or tea. Replace sugary foods with healthier options such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, granola etc.
Brush Shortly After Consuming Sugars
If cutting sugars out of your diet is too hard, then you should aim to brush your teeth several times a day after consuming sugars. This will help remove the sugars and harmful bacteria’s from your mouth, instead of letting them sit there and harm your teeth for long periods of time.
It is a good idea to carry a small travel size toothbrush everywhere you go.
Drink Water Along Side Sugars
When consuming sugars, make sure you drink water along side them. This will help rinse your mouth and will eliminate some of the sugar that otherwise would stick around in your mouth allowing the harmful bacteria’s to feed on and produce acid.
Eat Hard/Crunchy Veggies Along Side Sugars
When brushing is not possible, this might be the next best option. By eating hard and crunchy veggies along side sugars, you will be scraping off and eliminating some of the sugars that would usually stick around.
So after consuming that Pepsi or candy bar, was it down with a handful of carrots or celery.
Work to Remineralize your Teeth
Remineralizing your teeth means that you are standing up to the demineralization that the sugars your consume do to your teeth. You are trying to reverse the effects.
Here are a few ways you can work to remineralize your teeth…
Increase vitamin and minearal intake
Use remineralizing toothpaste
Brush 2-3 times daily and floss at least 1 time
Increase the Quality of your Dental Hygiene
Finally, pay better attention to how well you are maintaining your teeth. Increase the amount of times you brush per day. Make sure you are brushing the correct way and for a long enough period of time.
In addition, make sure you are flossing at least once every single day.
Practicing exceptionally good dental hygiene will ensure you are removing all sugars and harmful bacteria’s from your teeth and not letting the tough and sticky sugars stick around for long periods of time.
The longer the sugars sit, the more acid is produced, and the more harm to your teeth.
It is also good to keep your teeth nice and white. There are many options from whitening strips to at home teeth whitening kits. Just make sure to do your research before making any purchases, and stick to well known brands.
It is not the sugar itself that is harming your teeth. It is the bacteria’s that feed on the sugar you eat. They then produce acid, which does the damage to your teeth.
This creates cavities, sensitivity, yellow teeth, and more…
In order to prevent sugars from ruining your teeth, make sure you follow a few or all of the tips we discussed above. Although your teeth might look great now, it is over time that they will slowly begin to show the damage. This is why it is so important to take action NOW and get a head of the game instead of waiting until it is too late and almost nothing can be done.