Your mouth is full of bacteria. Some of it is good, but other kinds are harmful. Like all living things, harmful bacteria need food to live. They eat sugar, carbohydrates, and starches. As bacteria feed, they accumulate and produce acid. This acid strips minerals from your tooth enamel and irritates your gums, resulting in holes called cavities and gum inflammation.
What Happens If You Eat a Lot of Sugar?
If you consume a diet heavy in sugary and starchy foods, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases. Certain foods create more problems than others. As an example, hard and sticky candies like lollipops, caramel, and sugary gum stay in your mouth for a long time. The sugar mixes with your saliva, which then washes over every surface in your mouth. Beverages like sodas, energy drinks, and fruit juice also coat your teeth in sugar, providing a buffet for bad bacteria.
You might wonder if the type of sugar you consume matters to the bacteria in your mouth. Nope! They’ll eat any type of sugar. Refined sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, and even sugar found in healthy foods can feed the bad bacteria in your mouth.
How to Protect Your Teeth & Gums
You don’t need to completely cut out sugar to protect your teeth from tooth decay and gum disease. Simply reduce your intake of foods like candy, white bread, crackers, cookies, and pastries. Moderation is key!
Additionally, limit grazing. Frequent snacking means there is a constant supply of dietary sugar for your mouth bacteria. Limit sweets and treats to mealtimes and drink water whenever possible.
Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time and to floss every day.
It’s also important to visit Southern Dental Fort Smith for routine cleanings and checkups. Our team will remove plaque and tartar, identify problem areas that need extra care at home in your oral hygiene routine, and make suggestions about how you can improve your dental health habits.
Contact us with any questions or to set up your next appointment at our office!