Sugar affects all of our lives as it is in many of the foods we eat and beverages we drink. Sometimes, snack foods and processed foods trickily hide sugar within their ingredient lists without us even knowing.

Another thing we may not know is that sugar isn’t only bad for our waistlines but it’s also bad for our smiles. There are a few ways that sugar leads to deterioration in our mouths. First, sugar eats away at the enamel, or outer layer of your teeth, leading to cavities which grow bigger over time. Also, sugar attracts bacteria, which then builds up in your gums to assist in the progression of gum disease.

Demineralization on Your Teeth

A closeup on a female's beautifully white smileSome foods don’t react well with the enamel on your teeth. Certain substances, such as sugar, form acids in your mouth, which, in turn, eat away at your tooth enamel. This enamel is the shiny, protective, outer layer of your teeth. When enamel loss occurs, you expose the roots of your teeth to harm.

Luckily, your saliva helps your teeth by fighting back at those acids. Generally, the minerals found within your saliva coat your teeth and replenish the lost enamel. Logically, we call this process remineralization.

Though one round of demineralization and remineralization won’t hurt your smile, a repeated cycle of sugar intake will. Over time, your teeth will weaken due to mineral loss. In other words, your enamel will decay and you will start forming cavities. If left untreated, the cavity will expand and will result in the need for a root canal or even dental implants.

Sugar Attracts Bad Bacteria

You have plenty of bacteria in your mouth, some of it bad and some of it good. Sugar, though, attracts the bad bacteria in spades. When the bad bacteria multiply, you will develop dental plaque. This dental plaque, then, builds and builds, causing numerous problems for your smile.

In a vicious cycle, the bacteria lead to more dental plaque which leads to more bacteria. Over time the acidity levels rise with the mounting levels of bacteria, forming cavities in your mouth.

However, bad bacteria cause more than one issue. When left untreated, periodontal gum disease forms and inflames your gums. In these cases, you will experience discomfort and pain in your gums. Sometimes the gums will bleed or even lead to loosened teeth. However, preventative dentistry can help you clean out your gums and remove the bad bacteria before you develop serious gum disease or cavities.

The Bottom Line

Cutting back on sugary treats will help your overall health as well as your smile. If you are unsure about which foods contain sugars, ask us at your next visit! We also encourage you to do some online research or visit a dietician about sugar intake. If you need a dentist to help with inflamed gums or decaying teeth, visit us at Palencia Dental in St. Augustine, Florida. Call us at (904) 826-4343 or request an appointment online.