An image of a spoonful of sugar.

When it comes to sugar, most of us know that it’s not great for you, especially when it comes to your teeth and oral health. While a piece of cake or sugar filled coffee drink won’t hurt you now and then, you should be aware of your sugar consumption in regards to your teeth and mouth. In this blog post, we will be discussing more in depth about sugar and how it can drastically affect your oral health. Keep reading to learn more and remember to schedule your appointment with us, Smiles by Dr. Santos. 


Starting off, it’s important to understand where and how you are consuming sugar. There is sugar in almost everything that we consume, which is not to say that you need to avoid sugar at all cost. Sugar can come in many forms and many carbohydrates turn into glucose, or sugar, after they are digested. When we mention sugar, we are mainly talking about white sugar or processed sugars. 


There are many different types of bacteria that live in your mouth. Some are beneficial to your dental health, but others are harmful and can be dangerous if they are left for too long. Studies have shown that a select group of harmful bacteria produce acid in your mouth whenever they encounter and digest sugar. These acids remove minerals from your tooth enamel, which protects the outer layer of your teeth and is your tooth’s first defense against the outside world. This process is called demineralization. Luckily, your saliva helps to reverse this damage, but if you’re consistently consuming sugar, your saliva may not be able to keep up. 


Sugar also causes tooth decay, which is not only painful but can be dangerous to your oral health. Sugars can form dental plaque, which is a sticky colorless film that forms on the surface of your teeth. When the plaque is not removed by either brushing or saliva, it causes your mouth to be more acidic which can cause cavities. When cavities start to form, small holes or erosions will form on the tooth, until a larger hole or cavity may appear. 


Poor oral hygiene, whether it’s caused by sugar or not, can also increase your risk for heart disease. With heart disease being the number one killer in America, it’s important that you protect your life by keeping a healthy mouth. How is it connected? Well, the short answer is that your blood can become infected if your oral health is lacking. Whether it comes from excess cavities, periodontal disease, or other dental issues, if your blood is infected it can start to affect your heart. Oral health is especially important if you’re someone with a family history of heart disease, an artificial heart, or other circulatory system issues. 


While this is just a brief understanding about sugar and how it can affect your health, your best bet is to floss and brush your teeth right after you eat something sugary. Many times we tend to consume processed sugar through our beverages. Coffees, sodas, teas, and cocktails can be loaded with sugar and we may not realize it. Be aware of what you’re consuming and make sure to brush right after. It’s also important that you schedule your routine cleanings and go to the dentist straight away if you start to notice any potential cavities or have pain in your mouth. Keeping up to date with your oral hygiene, especially for children, can be a true test to keeping yourself healthy. Your mouth is a direct opening in your body that can leave many areas of your health exposed if you’re not taking care of it properly.


At Smiles by Dr. Santos, we want to help you continue your oral care, and whether you’re looking for routine cleaning and preventative services or needing something more cosmetic, we’re here for you! We’re so excited to announce that we are once again open for normal routine procedures and can’t wait to see you. Please connect with us directly before coming into our office as we do have certain procedures in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. We’re also currently accepting new patients!