Sugar, the bane of good dental health in our modern world. Actually, sugar is a health issue in almost every aspect of our lives. Of course, our bodies do actually need sugar, but like all things moderation is important. Although sugar itself does not cause gum disease, it is one of the most common culprits for the creation of plaque and tartar. This is especially because sugar is found in so many processed foods, making it hard to avoid added sugars. Of course, natural sugars can be an issue for your oral health, too. So, how does sugar have such an impact on the formation of gum disease?
Sugar Eating Bacteria in the Mouth
While your saliva does a decent job at washing away small amounts of natural sugars from foods such as fruits and vegetables, most of our sugar intake these days comes from processed white sugar. This is found in a lot of snacks like chips, cookies, brownies, and even crackers. When this sugar is left behind on your teeth, it attracts two kinds of harmful, sugar-eating bacteria: Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus. We won’t bore you with the details of what exactly the bacteria are, but here is the gist of it: these two bacteria feed on sugar. After feeding on the sugar, these are the bacteria that leave behind the sticky, film-like substance known as plaque. Eating a lot of foods with processed sugar can lead to a lot of plaque buildup, particularly if you don’t brush your teeth regularly. A lot of snacking also occurs in the middle of the day, and even if you brush your teeth twice per day, that leaves a lot of time for the bacteria to feed on the sugar.
The Type of Sugar Matters
The form of sugar you consume also has an effect on the formation of plaque, which can lead to gum disease. In this case, the form of sugar lies within the type of food it’s found in. We’ve already covered a lot of sugars that are common in a solid form like chips and cookies. However, sugar in liquid forms can be equally bad for your teeth, if not worse. A vast majority of sugary drinks typically have a high level of acidity as well. Drinks such as sodas, energy drinks, and even fruit juices can be very harmful to your teeth without proper care. The combination of acids and sugar are a leading cause of tooth decay.
Sugar and Preventing Gum Disease
So how do you prevent this? Well, a good cleaning routine is the first step. Making sure to brush your teeth at least twice per day, along with flossing and mouthwash are vital to preventing gum disease. However, this may not be enough if you brush your teeth in the morning and at night while eating sugary foods in the middle of the day. If you eat or drink these foods in the middle of the day, that sugar is on your teeth until the next time you are brushing. During that time, the bacteria is eating away all that sugar and creating plaque, leading to an increased risk of gum disease.
Always remember that you aren’t required to wait until “designed teeth brushing times”. If you eat sugary foods in the middle of the day, you can rinse your mouth with an oral rinse and then brush your teeth. This ensures that the bacteria have minimal time to feed on the sugar on your teeth to form plaque. The mouthwash will also do an efficient job of killing that harmful bacteria and getting some of the sugar off your teeth.
Get Optimal Protection from Gum Disease With Prosper and Smile Dental Care
Don’t let sugary foods and gum disease bring down your dental health and, more importantly, your great smile. Taking steps to limit your enamel’s exposure to sugary food and drink will go a long way to ensuring a happy, healthy smile. Make sure to add routine dental cleanings to your list of dental care by calling Prosper and Smile Dental Care today.