People often ask general dentists about sugar. You might be wondering if you can eat sugar or if you must avoid sugar completely to have good oral health. There is a lot of information out there about how sugar is bad for your teeth, but do general dentists recommend avoiding sugar completely? Here is some information about what sugar does to teeth and how your general dentist feels about it.
How sugar acts on the teeth
Eating foods that contain too much sugar can be bad for a person’s health. But a common misconception is that sugar causes cavities. In fact, the acid created by bacteria causes cavities. The acid eats away at the tooth enamel, exposing the softer inner part of the tooth. Bacteria infect the inner parts of the tooth and cause tooth decay. Sugar does play a role in this by feeding the bacteria and creating a more hospitable environment for the bad bacteria to grow.
Some sugar is more damaging
In many cases, the sugar content of the food is not the worst part. How people consume sugar matters more. For instance, sugary drinks like soda and juice are more dangerous than cookies because the sugar from the drink sits in the mouth for longer. Other foods that seem healthy can also be sources of sugar, including milk and fruit. Hard candies that people suck on are worse than crunchy candies that people consume quickly. But it would be nearly impossible to cut out all types of sugars from a person’s diet.
Sugar is not the worst
Surprisingly, sugar is not the worst ingredient when it comes to promoting bad bacteria in the mouth. That dubious honor goes to crackers and foods that produce fermentable carbohydrates. But that does not mean that sugar is off the hook. Too much sugar intake does promote bacterial growth, especially if patients do not practice good oral hygiene. General dentists do not recommend avoiding sugar completely but do want patients to know how to minimize the negative effects of sugar consumption.
General dentists and oral hygiene
When it comes to tooth decay, a person’s oral hygiene habits may matter more than sugar consumption. A person who eats very little sugar can still develop cavities and oral health problems without good habits in place. It is important to brush and floss the teeth at least twice a day. General dentists are a great resource and can show patients how to brush and floss effectively. Frequently rinsing away sugary drinks with water can also help to protect teeth in between brushing.
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Have your cake in moderation
General dentists recommend that patients practice moderation when it comes to sugar intake. You do not have to cut out everything sugary to also enjoy good oral health. By changing the type of sugar and how you consume it, you can lessen the danger that sugar causes. Good oral hygiene practices further minimize the risk of developing cavities and tooth decay. You can talk to your general dentist about your eating habits and how you can make improvements.