If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it over and over again: Sugar is bad for your teeth. As children, we heard this phrase often.
But is that actually the case? Our team at Cottonwood Dental is taking a few minutes to break it down for you.
What Happens When You Eat Sugar?
When you eat or drink something that contains sugar, bacteria in your mouth go into overdrive. They feed on sugar and starches and produce acids as a result. These acids can cause bacterial infections in the mouth and they can also damage your tooth enamel.
You need this tooth enamel to stay intact since it acts as a shiny, protective outer layer for your teeth.
Fortunately, you have a built-in defense system—your saliva. Saliva washes away food debris, including the acids left behind by sugary foods. Believe it or not, your saliva also contains antimicrobial elements that battle the bacteria.
You can take additional steps to limit the effects of sugar on your teeth by brushing your teeth and flossing.
So, No Sugar Ever?
While you don’t have to say goodbye to sugar forever, it is important that you consume it in moderation.
When you do decide to eat foods containing a good bit of sugar, make sure you have a glass of water nearby. If you drink water while eating a sugary treat, it gets a head start on rinsing your mouth and eliminating as much of the sugar sticking to your teeth as possible.
You might think it makes sense to brush your teeth right after eating something sugary. But stifle that urge! Wait at least an hour after eating or drinking something packed with sugar since it has an acidic effect on your teeth. If you brush too soon, that acid can weaken your tooth enamel.
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