Does sugar rot your teeth? Not directly, but it does have lots of negative impacts on your teeth. Did you know that as much as 92% of the adult population have cavities on their permanent teeth, most of these being preventable through better dental care. If you found out you recently had a cavity, or you’ve known about one for a while, your certainly not alone, less than 8% of the population won’t experience a cavity, so you’re in the majority!
What Does Sugar Do To Your Teeth?
If you don’t have a healthy oral care routine, then the plaque may be not be removed in time. If it is not removed in time, it will eventually harden, and become tartar (calculus). The tartar can eat away at the enamel of your teeth, and this will eventually result in tooth decay which will appear visually as a cavity, also referred to as dental caries.
Some cavities are only “minor cavities”, these will not need to be treated, and will not grow over time. However, many cavities will be a threat to the health of your teeth. These cavities will eat through the enamel, and eventually infect the inner pulp of the teeth.
This can cause numerous issues for your teeth:
- Pain – Numerous types of pain will be felt depending on how severe the cavity is. The pain can be sharp and sudden, throbbing, or radiating from around the tooth.
- Sensitivity – The plaque will cause your enamel to thin, this may cause the tooth to be impacted more heavily by moderate to extreme temperature changes.
- Breaking – The tooth will become weaker over time, leaving it more susceptible to breaks and fractures.
- Inner Pulp Infection – Once the bacteria break through the enamel, your inner pulp will become infected, this will lead to a dental abscess, and it is a incredibly serious condition.
Aren’t Sweets Only Bad For Your Teeth?
Sweets are considered the worst for your teeth, because they don’t have any other nutritional benefits to your health besides the calories and the carbohydrates. However, any food that is high in sugar is potentially dangerous for your teeth, and you should approach it with caution. This does not mean that we should cut out high-carb foods, because they can be quite healthy for you, it just means you should eat them as part of a balanced diet.
Some foods people think of as “healthy”, are some of the most dangerous for your teeth, these include:
- Fruit juice
- Citrus fruits
- Bread, pasta, rice, etc.
As mentioned previously, we are not telling you to avoid these foods, if you do have these foods, you should brush your teeth as soon as you can. Starchy foods like bread, are notorious for getting stuck in between your teeth, so flossing them would also be an excellent idea as well.
Is It Healthier To Eat Less Sugar?
Eating less sugar is generally better, assuming your doing strategically, and not replacing it with other bad foods. For example, if you eat out often, you may be consuming more sugar than you realize. The restaurants and food industry know foods with high sugar, and fat always taste better then their less appetizing counterparts. This basically means, if you are not buying the basic food ingredients like meats, rice, fruits and vegetables, etc. then added sugar will not only be expected, but it will probably be more then you would expect.
Here are some guaranteed ways to eat less sugar:
- Cook your own foods – Learn to cook simple dishes that can be made with whole, unprocessed foods.
- Eat less fast food – Fast food is notorious for having high sugar content.
- Eat a variety of foods – Try different foods that have less sugar per serving.
- Don’t add sugar to coffee/tea – This might be tough, but even that sugar can add up.
- Keep track of what you eat – Write down everything you eat, you might be surprised how much eating you’re doing without even realizing it.
- Meal prep – Cooking 5 meals a time isn’t much harder then cooking 1, once you get good at it. Having prepared food will prevent you from eating out, and it may even save you money!
- It’s ok to say no – It might feel uncomfortable if you’re trying to eat healthily and your co-workers are having birthdays and other celebrations constantly. It might be hard to say no at first, but it gets easier with practice, your coworkers may even support your efforts!
- Drink less alcohol – Alcoholic drinks can contain a lot of carbohydrates, not to mention we also don’t make the best deskins once we’ve “had a few”, drinking less is almost always the better option.
5 Tips To Healthier Teeth
Even with all this being said, people love eating sugar, and we do to, for good reason! However, it’s best to be aware of the amount, consistency, and aftercare once you’ve eaten the sugar. We wanted to give you some lifestyle tips so you can have your cake, and eat it too (just remember, moderation is key)!
Having proper oral care should always be top-of-mind when you are planning your daily activities. Most of the time you will just want to brush in the morning and the evening, along with flossing and mouthwash. However, if you know you are attending a celebration, or you’re doing some partying, you may want to bring a portable toothbrush, this will benefit you by cleaning your teeth, and it will keep your breath fresh during the party!
Replace Your Toothbrush
Do you remember the last time you replaced your toothbrush? Lots of other people forget about this as well. We recommend finding a brand of toothbrush you like, then buying 4 of them at a time. You will only have to do this once a year usually, you can just replace your toothbrush every 3 months. If you do this in December, by next the December you won’t have any left and you will be ready to buy more. Toothbrush bristles get wrecked over time due to the regular daily use, eventually, they will be ineffective.
Don’t Let Sugar Stay In Your Mouth
Remember to clean your mouth after eating sweets, or high-sugar foods. This will greatly minimize the impact of the sugar on your teeth. The worst thing you can do is forget to clean your mouth before you go to bed, or right when you wake up. The bacteria in your mouth will have been hard-at-work producing-bacteria, you want to do everything you can to prevent this from hardening into tartar.
Know When You’re Consuming Too Much Sugar
Sugar can have pretty potent, negative impacts when you consume a huge amount at once, or you are over-consuming on a regular basis. Here are some potential warnings when you’re consuming too much:
- Feeling exhausted, or fatigued
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Fluctuating energy levels
- Mood swings
- You “must-have” your sweets
You will want to get advice from a certified health professional before making any drastic assumptions. They will be able to tell you in confidence if you’re doing anything wrong, and what you should do to correct it.
Recognize Gum Disease Symptoms
Your gums will let you know if they’re unhappy with your eating habits, and if you’re paying attention to those symptoms, it will be easy to notice that something is wrong.
- Swollen, red or tender gums
- Separating or lose teeth
- Gums appearing to pull away from your teeth
- Bleeding gums while you eat hard foods, brush or floss
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your gums and teeth when your press your gums
- Any change in your bite
- Any difference in how your partial dentures fit
5 Foods That Are Healthy For Teeth
- Cheese – It’s rich in calcium and protein.
- Leafy greens – Loaded with fiber, this can help produce saliva, which will help digest food.
- Salmon – High in omega-3s, vitamin D, and calcium.
- Green tea – High in antioxidants, which helps fight bacteria!
- Raw veggies and fruits – Excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, also strengthens your teeth!