Here’s Why Sweets and Perfect Teeth Don’t Match
Almost everyone has a bit of a sweet tooth from time to time. For some of us, it’s a constant craving for sugary treats and beverages. Other people only have an occasional affinity for sugar-filled delights that provide a temporary pick-me-up. Either way, those goodies can take a toll on the teeth, making for a less-than-perfect smile.
Sugar Causes Cavities
Consuming high volumes of sugar can certainly cause tooth decay. No doubt, you’ve probably been hearing that since your early childhood years. Sweet foods and beverages tend to stick to the teeth and give bacteria in the mouth plenty of sugar to feed on. That causes the bacteria to multiply and eat away at the enamel, the hard, protective covering on the teeth. From there, the bacteria work their way deep into the teeth where they bring about decay.
Once tooth decay begins, it only grows worse until it’s taken care of by a dentist. If you’ve noticed brown or black spots on your teeth or unusual levels of sensitivity to sweets and hot or cold foods and beverages, cavities are most likely the culprit. Visit your dentist right away to have those cavities treated and end the pain and deterioration. Otherwise, your teeth are going to continue to decay to the point where the problem can’t be resolved.
Sugar Contributes to Enamel Loss
We’ve already touched upon enamel loss, but this topic deserves a bit more attention. Several types of bacteria naturally live in our mouths. Regularly brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can help keep those bacteria at a minimum, but they continually multiply throughout the day. As mentioned, those bacteria mix with sugar and feed off of it while clinging to the teeth.
One particularly harmful side effect of this process is the excess acid it produces. In turn, that acid creates a couple of particularly problematic situations. For one, it causes a great deal of wear on the teeth and gradually destroys their enamel. Secondly, it kills all the minerals naturally present in our saliva. Those minerals are there to help restore the teeth and prevent enamel loss. When acid eliminates them, they can’t do their job properly.
Too Much Sugar Can Lead to Receding Gums
Our gums are supposed to protect the teeth as well as the bones in which they’re rooted. Age, excessive sugar intake, alcohol consumption, smoking, poor dental hygiene, and other issues can cause the gums to recede. When they do, they leave the teeth more vulnerable to sensitivity and decay.
As the gums recede, they’re also more susceptible to infections and make you more likely to develop gum disease. The more they recede, the more vulnerable you are to all those problems. Receding gums and the dangers that come with them can be treated and even reversed in some cases, but catching the problem early and getting it taken care of requires regular visits to the dentist.
Gum Disease Can Increase Sugar Sensitivity
Reports show that almost half of Americans suffer from gum disease. In truth, the figures are probably much higher due to the number of people who live with gum disease but haven’t visited their dentist to be diagnosed and treated for it. Sugary foods and beverages are known to increase the risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease can also exacerbate tooth sensitivity to sweet treats.
Gum disease is generally caused by excess bacteria in the mouth. Sweet foods and drinks give those bacteria ample opportunity to multiply. Not brushing properly and failing to visit the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings allow those bacteria to get out of control and lead to numerous problems.
Swelling and inflammation of the gums, bleeding when you brush, and ongoing toothaches are only a few of the issues you might experience if you’re suffering from gum disease. At the same time, bacteria can work their way into pockets in the gums and cause serious infections. Those infections certainly affect the gums and teeth, but they can also spread to other areas of the body. They may even place you at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and blood vessel damage.
At-Home Tooth Whitening Contributes to Sensitivity
Tooth whitening treatments are constantly gaining popularity. They promise to remove years of built-up stains from the teeth to make them bright and beautiful. To do this, though, they use substances that invade the enamel.
This can leave your teeth more sensitive than usual. It may also temporarily wear down their natural defenses against further damage. If you use at-home tooth whitening kits, consider doing so in moderation and avoiding sugar and acidic substances for a few days afterward.
How Do I Know If I Have Tooth Damage?
Several warning signs will let you know if tooth damage has become an issue. Visible decay is one of the most obvious. Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets is another. It’s characterized by sharp pains or tingling sensations when you consume coffee, iced tea, candy, and certain other foods and drinks. Prolonged aching in the teeth, gums, jaws, or sinuses is also an indication of damage.
Combating Tooth Damage and Sensitivity
Here at Wilmot Family Dentistry, we understand why people are drawn to sweets. After all, we’re human, and we experience it too. Of course, we’re also dental professionals who are dedicated to helping our patients maintain their oral health and keep their smiles beautiful.
Consider consuming sweets in moderation to avoid damage to your teeth and, potentially, more in-depth issues. Brush and floss regularly. Be sure to avoid eating sugary treats for at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth, and wait half an hour or so after consuming sugar before brushing your teeth. This will go a long way toward reducing sensitivity and minimizing enamel deterioration.
On top of all that, it’s important to keep up with your twice-annual dental check-ups and cleanings. This measure will help prevent permanent tooth and gum damage. It’ll also allow us to stay on top of developing issues and treat them before they get out of hand. Whether you’re experiencing dental problems or just want to avoid them, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up an appointment.