Consuming too much sugar can have a detrimental effect on your oral health and lead to issues like tooth decay.

If you love sweet treats and sugary soft drinks, you are certainly not alone. Many people consume excessive amounts of added sugar every day, and unfortunately this habit can lead to some serious general and oral health issues. Onede of the most common oral health issues associated with the frequent consumption of sugar is tooth decay, while other potential problems include dental erosion, gum recession and tooth sensitivity. The good news is that it is not necessary to avoid sugar altogether — read on to discover how simply reducing your sugar intake together with practising proper oral hygiene can help to prevent tooth decay and maintain a healthy smile…

How does sugar affect your teeth?

Every time that you eat or drink something that contains sugar, the bacteria in your mouth react to the sugar and produce harmful acids. These acids attack the enamel of the teeth, weakening and wearing away at it over time — this, in turn, makes the teeth more vulnerable to the development of cavities.

Sugars also contribute to the development of plaque, a sticky substance that is packed with bacteria. It is important to remove plaque from the surface of the teeth with regular brushing and flossing, but if it is left to accumulate, it can harden into a substance known as tartar. The build-up of tartar can lead to gingivitis, the early form of gum disease.

Which sugars harm the teeth?

Added sugars, which are placed in foods to sweeten them, are generally the most harmful when it comes to one’s oral health. Unlike naturally-occurring sugars, such as those found in milk and fruits, added sugars do not contain any nutritional value. Some of the most common sources of added sugars include sugary soft drinks, baked good like cakes and biscuits, sweetened cereals and candy.

Added sugar contributes to the formation of plaque, which can then lead to tooth decay, especially when it is consumed frequently and in excessive amounts.

How can you prevent tooth decay?

Although it is not necessary to avoid sugar altogether and the occasional sweet treat is absolutely fine, it is advisable that you reduce your intake if you find that you eat sugar often. Try to switch out added sugars with natural sugars as much as you can — for example, you might swap candy and cake for fresh fruits and natural yoghurt.

It is advisable that you have a look at the labels on the foods that you choose to eat on a regular basis. Many foods, such as sauces and soups, contain added sugar, so it is worth checking the ingredient list so that you can make an informed decision and look for an alternative if necessary.

Sticking to a healthy, balanced diet will go a long way towards maintaining a healthy smile, but it is also very important that you practise proper oral hygiene every day, no matter what you choose to eat. It is often possible to prevent issues like tooth decay by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste; and flossing daily. You should also see your dentist for regular check-ups so that any early signs of decay can be resolved as soon as possible.

How can we help?

At Dental Artistry, we understand that it can be difficult to avoid sugar completely, but we do encourage our patients to try and stick to a balanced diet and to enjoy sweet treats in moderation only. If you have a question or concern about your diet or any of the lifestyle habits that could be affecting the condition of your smile, please don’t hesitate to come in and see us.

Our team offers a comprehensive range of dental services, including general, cosmetic and restorative treatments. To arrange an appointment, please give us a call on 09 524 4541 or get in touch with us here.