Sugar Consumption & Poor Oral Health

By Dr. Alexander Gaukhman

Sugar Consumption & Poor Oral HealthThe average American consumes 150-170 pounds of sugar per year. That’s over 300,000 calories that can negatively impact your overall health in several ways:
• Expanding waistline
• Coronary heart disease
• Type II diabetes
• Metabolic syndrome
• High blood pressure
• Cancer
• Cavities

The severity of sugar’s impact on your teeth can vary depending on the amount, type and form of sugar consumed, but the effects remain the same – cavities. However, the total amount of sugar you eat has less of an impact on your teeth than how often you consume the sugar. Sugar consumed in liquid form, such as sodas or juices, gets into every hard-to-reach nook and cranny in your mouth. “Even with regular brushing, those sugars can be difficult to reach, encouraging the growth of harmful bacteria.” Says Dr. Gaukhman.

Chewing foods laden with sugar can leave larger-
than-normal amounts of sugar residue on your teeth. Your saliva will not wash away this residue which leads harmful bacteria to wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. Unless you brush after eating small amounts of sugar often, eating large amounts not very often is better for your tooth enamel. A 12-oz can of soda is not as harmful to your tooth enamel if you drink all of it in a few minutes versus sipping those 12 ounces over a few hours.

Plaque, a sticky substance, is always forming on your teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria. The bacteria contained in the plaque feeds on the sugar in foods you eat or drink. Acids are created in about 20 seconds and last for about 30 minutes. Those acids can destroy your tooth enamel over time & acidic environments promote cavities.

Erosion from sugar consumption causes issues that go beyond cavities
• Extreme changes in your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth come together)
• Significant reduction in the size of your back teeth
• Tooth loss and/or extraction of unhealthy teeth
• Replacement of dental work
• Gum surgery
• Dental implants

Cavities & issues caused by sugar consumption can be prevented
• Brush your teeth at least twice each day
• Floss your teeth at least once each day
• Rinse your mouth with mouthwash
• See your dentist at least twice a year for teeth cleaning and checkups
• Avoid foods high in sugar

Reduce your overall sugar consumption
• Eat a variety of real foods from each of the five major food groups:
1.    Protein (beef, chicken, wild-caught fish, dry beans, peas and other legumes). Eating more protein will curb your craving for sweets.
2.    Fresh fruits
3.    Fresh vegetables
4.    Whole grains
5.    Dairy products

• Drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. On extremely hot days and when you exercise, you should drink even more water. For example, if you weigh 200lbs, you should drink 100 ounces of water each day. That’s about six 16-oz. bottles of water. Keeping your body well hydrated is crucial to your good health. Read “The Importance of Water in the Diet.”
• Eliminate sodas. Drink water, flavored water or green tea instead.
• Avoid or limit candy, cookies and pastries. Limiting your consumption of these deserts to small servings once or twice a week can greatly reduce your sugar consumption.
• Limit snacks. Eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day will provide optimal energy and health. Choose healthful snacks like raw vegetables and fruits, cheese, peanut butter or nuts and nut butters. By the way, cheese stops the acid attacks from sugar on your teeth.
• Beware of product labels that read “low-sugar” or “sugar-free.” Many low-sugar or sugar-free products use artificial sweeteners. There is potential health risks associated with use of artificial sweeteners. Research shows they can still create an acidic environment in your mouth.

If sugar consumption has caused tooth decay, tooth loss, or other oral health issues don’t wait, call now for a free consultation! 941-234-4455

Siesta Dental

5223 Avenida Navarra
Sarasota, FL 34242
(941) 266-7000

416 S. Tamiami Tr. Suite F1
Osprey, FL 34229
(941) 497-5650

463 US HWY 41 Bypass S.
Venice, Fl 34285
(941) 375-4488

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