Lend Me Some Sugar…Or Not

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The holidays are upon us and with them come a myriad of sweet treats. Unfortunately, those treats can harm your smile. You’ve probably heard that sugar can harm your teeth before, but do you know why?

It is important to understand what sugar actually does to your teeth. To begin, know that there are bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria form a sticky film called plaque, which is not only unsightly, but it damages your teeth. Plaque is made of living bacteria, which feed on sugars. They create an acidic byproduct, which eats away at your tooth enamel. The plaque layer sticks to your teeth, which constantly exposes your teeth to the corrosive force of the acid the bacteria are producing.

This technically means that it isn’t actually the sugar rotting your teeth; it is acid. Unfortunately, the practical application of this is that you still need to limit your sugar intake. In fact, it also means that you need to limit your acidic-food intake, as acids present in foods damage your teeth, just like bacteria-produced acid does. So, things like sticky, acidic, sugary candies (sour gummies, for example) are ruinous to your teeth.

If you do choose to eat these treats, be sure to accompany them with a tall glass of water to help rinse the food away from your teeth. Chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating to increase saliva flow. This cleans teeth and neutralizes acids in your mouth. Afterwards, brush your teeth.

For more information, call Hartsdale Family Dental in Hartsdale, New York, at 914-205-3750. Dr. Paul Greco and our team are happy to help!