It doesn’t matter whether you’re a child or an adult — sugar is bad for your teeth, no matter your age. As your friendly orthodontist, we feel obligated to inform you about a food ingredient that is everyone’s favorite (sugar), because it causes a lot of problems for your teeth. Here are some important things you should know about your teeth and sugar!
Sugar Changes Acidity in Your Mouth
The pH level in your mouth can affect whether you’re going to start developing cavities. In general, low pH is good and high pH means that the acidity inside your mouth is about to start eating through the enamel on your teeth and can cause issues.
Sugar makes all the difference in whether your mouth will have a high pH. When sugars mix with saliva, it drives the pH level up to the point where you will start doing damage to your teeth. Regularly brushing your teeth after every meal is one way to keep the sugars and the acidity in your mouth from getting out of control.
Bad Bacteria Love Sugar
Sugar and saliva mix together to create a toxic base for bad bacteria to grow. In fact, the bad types of bacteria that like to cause gum infections, receding gums, cavities and other problems absolutely love it when you eat lots of sugar and then don’t brush or floss often enough. Eating too much sugar is like putting up a “Home Sweet Home” sign in your mouth for these bacteria!
How Solid Sugars Affect Your Teeth
Plain old solid sugar crystals are one the most widely recognized forms of sugars in our diets. We dissolve it in hot drinks, add it to recipes, and simply use it too much for our teeth to handle. We use it in regular foods and it’s also a main ingredient in some chewing gum and candy.
The problem with solid sugar crystals is that when they dissolve in the mouth, they stick directly to the teeth. The saliva in our mouths simply isn’t strong enough to wash that sticky residue away. Unless we brush after meals or sugary snacks, that residue just sits there, waiting to become a new cavity-causing bacteria colony in the mouth.
How Liquid Sugars Affect Your Teeth
Liquid sugars are more difficult to spot on ingredient lists, because they’re usually not referred to as “sugar.” These include a lot of different ingredients that end in the letters “-ose,” such as sucralose, glucose, or fructose. High fructose corn syrup is one of the most prevalent liquid sugars in the American diet today, because it is used in most processed foods, sodas, and desserts.
The problem with liquid sugars is that consuming them is like using mouthwash that’s completely sugar. It gets into the spaces between the teeth and can cause cavities anywhere and everywhere, unless you diligently brush your teeth after every meal (or avoid liquid sugars in your diet).
Liquid sugars create a sticky film on and between the teeth and gums, which leads to bacteria, which leads to gum disease, cavities, bad breath and more. Teenagers: Would you like to sit at home alone on prom night because of bad breath? We didn’t think so. Avoid those sugary soft drinks, candy, and other sugary snacks to avoid the bad breath and other oral health problems that sugars can lead to!
Why Regular Brushing & Flossing Really Matters
Since sugars on your teeth lead to bacteria, and bacteria lead to plaque, gum disease, and cavities, it’s important that you take charge of your own oral health. Sure, you can always get a filling when you have a cavity — but is that the best use of your time or money?
A better strategy for taking care of your teeth is to simply follow a daily regimen of brushing and flossing. Brush at least twice a day after meals using a fluoride toothpaste — and brush for a full two minutes each time. Make sure you floss once a day to get any food bits or plaque between the teeth.
Contact Valderrama Orthodontics
Another great way to take care of your teeth is to maintain regular checkups with your dentist, and with your orthodontist in the Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge areas. At Valderrama Orthodontics, we specialize in invisible braces, bride braces, Invisalign, Clear Correct and many other orthodontic practices that can help give you that perfect smile! Call us to schedule your next appointment.