How Sugar Affects Your Teeth
You know that daily brushing and flossing are key to good oral hygiene. But did you know your diet plays a strong role, too?
Starting with the positive side, foods can have a good effect on your diet. Vegetables often require more chewing, which stimulates saliva production and helps neutralize acid in the mouth. And many dairy products, like cheese and milk, have properties that deter decay and strengthen teeth.
It’s no surprise that one of the biggest dietary negatives with respect to oral health is sugar. Some of the details, however, are quite surprising. For example, added sugar is included in over 70% of packaged foods. Liquid sugar, such as found in acidic drinks like soda, energy and sports drinks, is the leading single source of sugar in the American diet. And while experts recommend no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day for adults (4 for children), the average American consumes almost 20.
Sugar now ranks with tobacco and alcohol for its harmful effects on the body. It encourages the growth of harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. It’s linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and obesity.
Of course, all of this simply begs the question—WHY DOES IT HAVE TO TASTE SO GOOD?!
Scientists are still working on that. Meanwhile, keep brushing, flossing and making your regularly schedule dental appointments. And most of all, keep smiling!