Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit, or text us at (646) 278-4579.

Here’s Exactly What Happens When Sugar Sits on Your Teeth

Here’s Exactly What Happens When Sugar Sits on Your Teeth

Somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind, you know sugar is bad for you, and more specifically, bad for your teeth.

But do you know why? What is it about sugar that makes parents tell their kids, “Sugar will rot your teeth!”?

The experienced dentists at Smile Design Manhattan, in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City, see the effects of sugar on teeth every day. Here’s what they want you to know to encourage you to keep sugar off your teeth as much as possible.

The fight starts in your mouth

You probably don’t realize it, but there’s a constant battle going on in your mouth between the forces of good (remineralization) and evil (demineralization). Here’s what we mean.

Many types of bacteria live in your mouth. Some are good and helpful, while others, such as Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus, are harmful because they destroy your dental enamel (the hard covering that protects your teeth).

Here’s the problem with sugar: It attracts these dangerous bacteria. So when you eat a sweet treat or take a swig of that soda, the sugar that stays on your teeth feeds these bacteria that, in turn, produce acid that attacks your teeth’s enamel. This process is called demineralization.

The news isn’t all bad, though. Your saliva contains minerals such as phosphate and calcium that work to repair the enamel lost after an acid attack. This process is called remineralization, and this cycle occurs continuously in your mouth.

Cavity central

As you consume more and more sugar over time, this cycle leads to an overall loss of enamel. That leaves your teeth vulnerable to further attack by bacteria, causing decay and eventually forming a cavity, or hole, in your tooth.

Left untreated, the cavity can spread to deeper layers of your tooth, resulting in pain and possibly the loss of your tooth. Cavities are usually treated with fillings; a filling restores your tooth but leaves it weaker than before.

(Turns out, your parents were mostly right — the sugar itself doesn’t cause the rot, but it certainly leads to decay.)

Your dietary habits

So what can you do? Eat less sugar! Think twice before you grab that sugary snack or sip on that sweet soda. 

You should also practice good oral hygiene to keep the sugar you do consume from sitting on your teeth for long periods. Make sure you brush at least twice a day, and after every meal if possible.

You should also schedule a professional teeth cleaning to get your teeth in better shape. Just call the experts at Smile Design Manhattan today to set up your appointment and start winning the fight for your teeth.

You Might Also Enjoy...

4 Signs of a Dental Abscess

4 Signs of a Dental Abscess

Do you have a persistent, throbbing pain in your mouth? You might have a dental abscess. Here are four signs of an abscess — read on to find out if they apply to you.