Digesting is a complex process that starts in your mouth, home to teeth, gums, tongue, surrounding muscle and tissue, and millions of bacteria. The combination of poor dental hygiene, dietary choices, and the presence of harmful bacteria can lead to dental problems, including halitosis (bad breath), gum disease (periodontitis), cavities (dental caries), tooth erosion, and dry mouth.
Food plays a significant role in your dental health, and things like sugar can erode the protective layers of teeth and do substantial damage if left unchecked. Let’s examine how sugar damages teeth, the complications of not caring for your oral health, and how to prevent and reduce the risk of complications.
If you live in Richmond Hill, Georgia, and are struggling with dental problems caused by sugar, Dr. Nils Anderson and our experienced medical staff at Village Dental can help.
There is a delicate balance to how the microbiome works in your mouth. Millions of bacteria are in your mouth, but many are there to help you break down food. In fact, research shows a certain group of bad bacteria that create acid in your mouth in the presence of sugar. That results in breaking down the enamel that protects your teeth.
The saliva will generally keep sugar from causing damage in a process called remineralization, which uses calcium, phosphate, fluoride, and water to rebuild what is broken down. Cavities and other related problems result from repeated exposure to sugar and acids over time, forming plaque and breaking down enamel. That means every time you eat sugary foods without brushing after, it continues to cause more damage.
Tooth decay results from untreated cavities, putting you at risk of oral infections. An infection causes the tooth pulp to swell and become irritated, causing severe pain. Eventually, it leads to swelling and pus on gums, dental abscesses, cracked and broken teeth, and problems chewing. In less common situations, the damage caused by tooth abscesses can result in serious infections that can affect your overall health.
Improving your dental hygiene and making dietary changes protect your oral health. Brushing and flossing twice daily reduces the amount of sugar and harmful bacteria that collect on teeth and protect them from damage. Replacing sugars with high-fiber vegetables, fruits, and dairy products reduces the bad bacteria in your mouth.