While most people are guilty of having a sweet tooth, is the impact of sugar on your teeth and health considered? Understanding how sugars affect your teeth might make you rethink how often you eat your favourite sugary snack.

There’s a reason why it’s not common to celebrate birthdays with a tray full of apples – although it’s encouraged! We look forward to consuming sugary treats every so often, especially when it’s in celebration of a special occasion. Life is about balance and continuing to prioritize your oral health despite occasionally indulging in sugary treats.

Understanding Tooth Enamel

Your teeth receive protection from a hard outer shell called enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the entire human body – stronger than bone and helps protect against tooth decay. Calcium and phosphorous are two minerals that make up 95% of tooth enamel. The other 5% consists of 4% water and 1% protein. This combination of substances helps protect the layers of your teeth from the sensitivity of hot, cold or acidic beverages.

How Enamel Becomes Weakened

Although tooth enamel is a hard substance that works to protect your teeth, the impact of consuming sugar is powerful enough to wear down enamel. When we consume sugary snacks and beverages, the sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque, producing acid. The acid wears at the enamel, causing it to weaken, leading to tooth sensitivity. This process is known as acid erosion. Be mindful of the number of acidic foods and beverages that you’re consuming. Acidic drinks (even coffee) can weaken enamel over time. When indulging in acidic beverages, try to use a straw to decrease the direct impact on your teeth.

Taking Care of Your Enamel

Maybe you’re wondering what the state of your enamel is. Do you have any tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food items or sugary sweets? All the more reason to schedule regular checkups with your dentist to voice any concerns regarding your teeth! In addition to having your teeth cleaned professionally, practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent enamel loss! There are also specific kinds of toothpaste that aid in the repair of enamel. Talk to your dentist to learn more about enamel protection.

How Sugar Can Cause Cavities

The impact of acid on your teeth over time (from consuming sugary food items or acidic ones) can result in the creation of cavities. Cavities are damaged areas in your teeth, resulting in a small hole. Having a cavity will require a trip to the dentist for a filling. Remember to brush and floss a few times per day to remove plaque and keep your teeth clean!

How Sugars Affect Your Teeth and Health

Consuming sugar can impact overall health beyond just your teeth! There’s truly a reason why you might have learned growing up to avoid sugary treats. Overconsumption of sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and more. In addition to sugars, you should also be mindful of any added sugars! Common added sugars include sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. Indulging in sugary treats typically offers no nutritional value; it’s ultimately just straight sugar! You don’t find the same vitamins in minerals that you do in healthy, beneficial alternatives.

Limiting your sugar intake might have got a whole lot easier after learning about how sugars affect your teeth. Learn more about foods that positively impact your teeth in our previous blog post on Foods That Benefit Your Oral Health.

As we mentioned, we’re big believers that life is about balance! Schedule regular cleaning appointments at Cranberry Hill Dentistry to ensure that you’re taking the best care of your oral health while also treating yourself, every once in a while!

Sources:

https://www.pronamel.ca/about-enamel/what-is-tooth-enamel/
https://www.pronamel.ca/about-acid-wear/the-difference-between-acid-wear-and-cavities/
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cavities/what-are-cavities
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/cavities/what-are-the-effects-of-sugar-on-teeth

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