Sugar may not take long to bring a smile to your face and sweetness to your tongue, but over time it can have negative effects on your teeth and gum tissue. Sugar can lead to inflammation throughout your body including your gum tissue. You may notice that your gum tissue is red and bleeds. This is not normal, it is something that should be checked out.
Excessive sugar more often leads to problems with cavities and that is what this article will be focusing on. While one sugary sucker won’t leave you with cavities, a habit of consistently eating sugary snacks could. Keep reading to find out the best ways to avoid tooth decay!
How Does Sugar Impact Your Teeth?
When you consume sugar, your teeth experience a double whammy from the food or drink that you consumed. First, most foods and drinks consumed are acidic which is hard on your teeth. This acidic environment works against you by depleting minerals from your teeth. When this happens, it weakens your teeth. Your teeth will remineralize and uptake minerals again but it takes about 20-40 minutes.
The second whammy of sugar consumption is that the bacteria in your mouth also feed on this sugar. An acidic byproduct is produced when these bacteria consume sugar and this again puts your teeth into an acidic environment until your saliva can bring your mouth to a healthy pH level.
How Long Does It Take For Sugar To Damage Teeth?
One sugary drink isn’t going to give you a cavity, but if you sip on sugary drinks all day long you will likely develop a cavity over time. Studies show that most cavities take about two years to form. Sometimes this process is sped up or slowed down based on how you’re eating and how you are caring for your teeth.
What Happens To Your Teeth When You Stop Eating Sugar?
If you stop eating sugar your teeth are likely to be in a neutral environment more often. Then they won’t be in an acidic environment where cavities can form as easily. Even eating healthy foods, your saliva still has to work to neutralize the pH of your mouth and remineralize your teeth. This process of demineralization and remineralization is what a healthy body was created to do to help it maintain a balanced and healthy state. It’s when you often add sugar to the mix, things can get out of balance more easily and the long-term effects may be that a cavity forms.
Once You Have Sugar Damage On Your Teeth, Can You Reverse It?
It is possible to reverse the beginning stages of sugar damage such as damage that has just entered the outermost layer of your enamel. Once sugar damage has progressed through the enamel layer and into the dentin, which is the softer-inside layer of your tooth, damage cannot be reversed and your cavity must be filled.
Is There Anything That You Can Do To Avoid Cavities?
The good news is that there are many things that you can do to avoid cavities. The biggest thing in avoiding cavities is to be diligent in the daily tasks that will keep your teeth healthy and strong. We have put together 7 simple things that you can do to help limit your chances of getting tooth decay:
- Brush your teeth: Brushing twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush greatly reduces your risk of cavities.
- Grab your floss: Flossing once a day has been shown to help break up cavity-causing bacteria and remove food from between your teeth.
- Routine dental cleanings: For most of our patients, we recommend 6-month dental cleanings. These routine dental appointments are beneficial for removing plaque and bacteria buildup from your teeth but also are helpful for catching the earliest signs of decay.
- Use fluoride products: There are many dental products that contain fluoride ingredients. Fluoride helps to strengthen your enamel and build strong teeth. We recommend using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse.
- Limit sugar exposure: Are you a frequent snacker? Studies show that eating many snacks between meals as well as sipping on drinks, other than water, increase your chances of developing a cavity.
- Drink water throughout the day: We recommend making water the main beverage that you drink throughout the day. Your teeth will thank you for sipping on water instead of juice, pop, or coffee.
- Eat this, not that: Just like you can swap out your beverages to reduce your chance of cavities, you can also switch out unhealthy meals and snacks for healthier ones. An example of this would be to eat carrots and hummus for a snack instead of a donut.
Would you say that you are on track for limiting your tooth decay? If not, there are likely a few simple habits that you can adopt today to reduce your chances of getting tooth decay. Let us know in the comments what change you have made or will make soon!Share This: