Does sugar rot your teeth? It’s a common belief that there’s an unmistakable link between the two. Well, we’re here to tell you that sugar’s role in rotting teeth is both a tooth truth and a mouth myth! That’s because the creation of cavities is a bit more involved than just consuming mountains of sugary foods.
Does Sugar Rot Your Teeth?
The truth is sugar does not inherently cause teeth to rot. The acid produced by bacteria in your mouth causes cavities. What the bacteria do, however, is eat carbohydrates, including sugar. It’s worth noting that sugar isn’t just the white granular substance we think of when we imagine sugar. Many foods are carbohydrates, including rice, potatoes, bread, fruits (including fruit juice), and even vegetables.
When you eat anything with carbs, the bacteria become active. It then produces acid that eats into the enamel that protects your tooth.
Once that happens, the bacteria have a nice little home, out of reach of your toothbrush and floss. The cycle continues: bacteria continue to metabolize carbs, produce acids, and expand that cavity. Beyond cavities, all of this bacterial growth can lead to the development or worsening of gum disease and even the loss of teeth.
“The consumption of sugars has been associated with an increased risk of developing dental caries.” – American Dental Association.
Causes of Cavities: It’s Not Just About Carbohydrates
When it comes to different causes of cavities, it’s not the amount of carbohydrates you eat that causes tooth decay but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a lot of carbs for lunch, that’s one extensive exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks or snacking on cookies, that’s continuous exposure — and much more dangerous for your teeth. We recommend limiting eating and drinking to a set amount of time instead of prolonging it.
As we like to say: Sip all day and get decay.
How Do You Prevent Cavities After Eating Sugar?
One of the best things you can do after indulging in a sugary snack is to drink a glass or two of fluorinated water. This neutralizes the acidity in your mouth and helps remove leftover food particles so they can’t wreak havoc on your teeth.
You can also keep up with optimal oral hygiene habits: brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist for a deeper cleaning 1-2 times a year.
Is Artificial Sugar Any Better?
Artificial sugar isn’t any better for your oral and overall health. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer many nutritional benefits. Use artificial sweeteners in moderation. Curious to know more? Read our article: Stevia vs. Xylitol.
When Was the Last Time You Had Your Teeth Cleaned?
If it’s been more than six months, schedule an appointment with the caring team at Dakota Dental. Our dedicated Apple Valley dentists will give your teeth the TLC they need for a lifetime of health. We’d love to see you, even if you haven’t been here before!