Your teeth should last your lifetime — provided they get proper care. That means doing things like brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist on a regular basis. But it also means steering clear of things that can compromise your teeth. And sugar tops that list.
To avoid everything from root canals to the need for teeth whitening, it’s important to understand what sugar does to your teeth. George Kontoveros, DMD and the team at 2K Dental want to help people in Cleveland, Parma, and Akron, Ohio, keep their smiles healthy and beautiful. So we created this overview of sugar’s harmful effects.
Sugar and your enamel
Your teeth have a protective outer coating called enamel. The enamel is a mineral-based, hard shell that helps your teeth stand up to wear and tear as you chew and talk.
Over time, though, bacteria in your mouth can eat away at that enamel. We call this process demineralization. When the enamel gets too thin as a result of demineralization, you risk things like teeth staining and cavities. Left untreated, this thin enamel exposes you to a heightened possibility of serious dental issues.
Here’s the thing: sugar is a favorite food for the harmful bacteria that damages your enamel. When you eat sugar, bad bacteria can feed on it and form plaque on your teeth. When it’s left unaddressed, that plaque increases acidity on the surface of your teeth, eating away at your enamel.
Limiting the harmful effects of sugar
There are a couple of pieces of good news here. First, you can get rid of plaque before it has the chance to damage your teeth. If you brush your teeth right after you eat sugar, that effort goes a long way toward limiting harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Secondly, your body has a way to counteract the potentially detrimental effects of bad bacteria. Your saliva contains phosphate and calcium, two minerals that your enamel needs to stay strong.
That means that your mouth has the ability to remineralize your teeth. But you need to give it a chance to do that work. That makes it extra important to brush your teeth soon after eating sugar. That way, your mouth can work on remineralization instead of sitting there with enamel-eating plaque.
Ultimately, being aware when you eat sugar — and taking steps to clean your teeth afterward — can go a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy.
Beyond that, regular dentist visits also play a key role in your long-term oral care. For the preventive dentistry care you need to maintain a healthy smile through the years, call one of our offices in Cleveland, Parma, and Akron, Ohio, today.