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Why Is Sugar Bad For Your Teeth?

Published on May 23rd, 2017

By now in life, you probably know that eating sugar is not good for your teeth. It can lead to tooth decay, after all. But how exactly does this happen? That’s the question a lot of people have, and if more people understood just how it happens, they might be more inclined to prevent it from happening! Let’s be clear. It’s not necessarily the sugar itself that is doing the damage to your teeth. It’s actually acid that destroys your teeth. So how does eating sugar lead to acid? Learn below.

Sugar, Bacteria, and Tooth Enamel

Your mouth is home to thousands of bacteria. Most of them are good for us. They actually benefit our health. There are some bacteria, though, that are harmful to our oral health. These bacteria feed on the sugars and then produce acids that eat away at our tooth enamel. When sugar gets wet (by your saliva, for example) it becomes sticky. And when it becomes sticky, it really likes to stick to your teeth. When the bad bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar stuck to your teeth, the acid they produce comes into contact with your tooth enamel, and your tooth enamel, in turn, begins to erode.

A Glimmer of Hope

The good news? You’re fighting this, even as we speak! You see, the process that erodes the enamel of your teeth is called demineralization. Your teeth are largely made up of minerals, and the acids caused by the sugar-eating bacteria eat away at those minerals. Your saliva contains minerals itself like calcium and phosphates, and these minerals actually help restore the damage done by these acids. Don’t rely to heavily on this. Your saliva can only repair so much. Bad oral health habits still can cause tooth decay.

What You Can Do

The best thing that you can do to avoid demineralization through sugar intake is to limit your sugar intake! The less sugar you eat, the less risk you are at for the cavities caused by tooth decay. The next best thing you can do is to keep up on good oral health habits. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly in addition to going to the dentist are imperative to keeping your mouth healthy. Our tip to you? Brush as soon as you can after eating. One of the biggest determinants of tooth decay is how long sugar actually sits on your teeth. Think about it: the longer sugar is on your teeth, the longer that bacteria has to eat away at the sugar, the more acid it can produce, and the more acid it produces, the more enamel erodes. Your defense against cavities is brushing right away after you eat to get rid of that sugar!

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