Dr. Bruce Matthews, DDS

Sugar's Effect on Oral Health

December 19, 2016
Posted By: Bruce E. Matthews, DDS, PA
a toothbrush and toothpaste | Wilmington DE dentist

You are probably aware that sugar contributes to the decay of your teeth, and there are many health issues surrounding over-consumption of sugar in addition to oral health. Sugar is widely present in many of the foods we eat on a regular basis, so it's important to limit your intake in order to stay healthy, both orally and overall. 

How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

Your mouth is full of bacteria, and a lot of it is considered good bacteria that keeps your mouth healthy. However, some of the bad bacteria that can form actually feeds on sugar. These create acids that break down the tooth enamel and eventually will lead to cavities. Cavities are an infection in the tooth that causes a hole to form where the decay is growing. While bad bacteria feeds on sugar to damage your teeth, good bacteria is working to keep them healthy. However, high sugar consumption can make this a losing battle in your mouth!

When cavities go untreated, they can become much more severe with more sugar consumption and bacteria growth. If you don't have a cavity filled and it becomes more severe, a root canal treatment may be needed, which is more time-consuming, expensive, and it's common to experience pain once a tooth has reached this level of decay. Let the tooth decay even further, and it's likely that you'll lose the tooth altogether. 

Treating Damage from Sugar

One of the most important reasons that you should be visiting your dentist regularly is to prevent severe tooth decay, and to identify and treat it before it comes more severe. While it is common for patients to experience pain when decay goes untreated, many people don't, and they can't tell that anything is wrong with their teeth. A dental exam regularly is the best way to help prevent this from occurring. 

If you do have a cavity, your dentist can clean out the affected area on your tooth, and fill it. This prevents any further decay in the same area of your tooth from happening in the future. The process is fairly simple, and it's very common. However, if the decay progresses, your dentist may need to perform a root canal, which is a much more extensive treatment. This process involves drilling into the tooth, and removing all of the decay, as well as the nerves and pulp from the inside of your tooth. Typically a crown will need to be placed after the procedure as well.

Call Your Wilmington DE Dentist 

If you have any questions, or to schedule an appointment, give our office a call today for more information!

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