It’s common knowledge that too much sugar is bad for our health. It can lead to obesity and chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. But what we often don’t think about is the affect sugar has on our teeth and gums.
Too much sugar affects your teeth and gums because it leads to tooth decay and gum disease. And when your mouth isn’t healthy, that can also affect your overall health.
We’ll discuss why sugar causes tooth decay and gum disease, how your mouth health connects to your overall health, and tips for what you can do to keep your mouth fresh and fit.
First of all, the saliva in your mouth plays an important role by helping you break down food and beverages. A normal or “neutral” pH level for saliva is between6.2-7.6 on a 14-point scale. The lower the pH level the more acidic your saliva is.
When sugar enters your mouth, it essentially knocks off your saliva’s pH level. That’s because the bacteria in your mouth also plays a role in breaking down food and drinks. When bacteria break down sugar, it releases different types of acid. When the bacteria and those acids hit your saliva, your saliva’s pH level plummets.
If your salivary pH level falls below a 5.5, the enamel on your teeth is the first to take a brutal hit. According to Colgate, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but even it can’t stand up to acidic saliva.
Unfortunately, once your enamel is gone…it’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. This means your teeth will be more sensitive to hot and cold beverages and you will start to see a yellowish discoloration begin to show.
And when you have weak or eroded enamel, cavities are not too far behind. Since there is less enamel to protect your teeth, bacteria jump on the opportunity to attack. Cavities are painful and you’ll definitely need to see Dr. Sutton at Dapper Dental for fillings.
In addition to your teeth, this is also bad news for your gums. Too much sugar leads to plaque and eventually it leads to gum disease, also known as periodontitis, where you experience painful swelling and bleeding of your gums. If you are experiencing discomfort, painful swelling or bleeding of your gums, be sure to give Dr. Sutton at Dapper Dental, your Winter Park Dentist a call. He can give you a thorough exam and get you on the right track to feeling better and to better gum health.