Truth is, sugar is like an addictive drug, and research shows that we consume about 140 pounds of it every year! Sugar is everywhere, and there is no easy way to avoid it; it is in soda, ice cream, cereal, candy, cakes, cookies, etc. So many things contain sugar, even good things for us like fresh fruits and vegetables (although these are better sugars for our bodies to process). Sugar is the real villain in the obesity epidemic and the fight for good oral hygiene. Although sugar cannot be eliminated, the only possible solution is that consumption of sugar should be decreased.
With all that said – it is December, and the holidays are right around the corner. This means consuming large quantities of hot chocolate, egg nog, candy canes, Christmas cookies, gelt, gingerbread houses, and other sugary treats on your celebrated holiday of choice. However, the impact of those sugary treats you may have eaten will not bring you cheer in healthy ways. Sugar consumption can negatively impact your overall health, i.e., heart disease, diabetes, Metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure (hypertension), cancer, cavities and tooth decay. After a holiday, most of us go on and on about its consequences to our waistlines, but the real victim is our teeth, as sugar consumption and poor oral hygiene go hand-in-hand.
How Does Sugar Affect Our Teeth?
Many dentists are concerned that their patients are consuming record numbers of sugar-filled and non-nutritious snacks and drinks that affect their teeth. These sugary foods and beverages generally have little if any nutritional value, and over time they can take a toll on teeth. The severity of sugar’s impact on your teeth varies depending on the amount, type and form of sugar consumed, but the effects remain the same – tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, etc.
When bacteria come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth, eventually resulting in our teeth suffering. Sugar consumed in liquid form, such as sodas or juices, gets into every hard-to-reach nook and cranny in your mouth. Even with regular brushing, those sugars can be difficult to reach, encouraging the growth of harmful bacteria.
Consuming sugar can also lead to other severe issues and outcomes, including:
- Extreme changes in your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth come together)
- A significant reduction in the size of your back teeth
- Tooth loss or extraction of unhealthy teeth
- The replacement of dental work
- Gum surgery
- Dental implants
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily caloric intake. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.
If sugar consumption has caused tooth decay, tooth loss or other poor oral health issues, don’t wait, and call Dedicated Dental at (702) 566-5509 to request an appointment.