One of the first dental lessons people learn is how sugar is the worst enemy of your oral health. Most people know that it can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease, but reducing your level of consumption can be a challenge. Discover the origins of sugar, why it’s bad for your teeth, and how you can be a smart consumer and mitigate the damage it causes.
A Brief History of Sugar
When Emperor Darius of Persia invaded India in 510 BC, he found what he called “the reed which gives honey without bees.” It would be over a thousand years later before sugar would make its way to England where in 1099, it remained an expensive luxury item. One of the greatest successes at growing sugar occurred in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought sugarcane to the Caribbean, which was an ideal environment for it to thrive.
Sugar in Modern Times – A Popular and Controversial Substance
As of 2018, sugar is used in a surprising amount of products. Its widespread use in products like crackers, ketchup, and fruit juice means that the majority of Americans are exposed to high amounts of sugar, even if they forego sweet desserts and candy. Furthermore, sugar has become increasingly controversial, and numerous studies continue to confirm it as the cause of problems ranging from obesity to heart disease.
How Sugar Affects Your Teeth
It may come as a surprise to know that sugar does not directly harm the teeth. A more accurate way to think of it is that sugar starts a chain reaction that causes the development of tooth decay. The following steps describe how sugar can lead to decay and cavities:
- When you eat bread, pastries, crackers, or sweets, sugar sticks to your teeth.
- This sugar attracts the bacteria in your mouth.
- The bacteria eat the sugar on your teeth, producing lactic acid.
- Lactic acid lowers the pH level of your teeth, gradually dissolving their enamel.
- This effect worsens over time and can lead to cavities and other dental problems.
Cutting Back on Sugar for a Healthier Smile
For anyone who wants to improve their oral health, reducing the amount of sugar you consume is an excellent place to start. Along with acid, sugar is the number one culprit behind the most common dental conditions, and avoiding it is as simple as thoroughly reading the nutrition label. Also, choosing fresh foods that don’t have preservatives or sugar added can be a great way to cut back on the sugar in your diet. Ultimately, the decision to reduce your sugar consumption is likely to lead to superior health and fitness, and a strong smile that’s free from tooth decay.
Your Dietary Choices Impact Your Oral Health
It may be surprising how much your daily choices play an active role in your oral health. From the products you put into your shopping cart to the beverages you choose when you’re thirsty, these are the decisions that have a major effect on your smile. With some extra awareness of the foods that are bad for your teeth, you can make choices that will keep your smile healthy for years to come. Ready for your next dental appointment? Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Kovacevic for top quality dental care in Greensburg, PA. We look forward to meeting you!