Fact vs. Myth: Is Sugar Bad for Teeth?

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Cluster of fluted white custard cups holding various colorful candies: gummies, hard candy, and wafers

You’ve heard many times that sugar is bad for your teeth, but it can be hard to avoid it when the sweet stuff is everywhere! We’ll explore what sugar does to your teeth, if all sugar is bad for your teeth, and what you can do to protect your oral health.

What Does Sugar Do To My Teeth?

Eating sugar doesn’t actually harm your oral health, but it’s the acids that the bacteria on your teeth release after breaking sugar down that do. These acids easily dissolve your tooth enamel, increasing your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day, you’re inviting bacteria to damage your oral health by feasting upon the sugar left on your teeth. Establish a consistent oral healthcare routine to curb the effects of bacteria on your teeth and promote a bright and healthy smile!

Should I Avoid All Sugary Foods & Drinks?

Processed or refined sugar, like the kind found in candy, ice cream, potato chips, pre-packaged snacks, and soda, is definitely to be avoided as much as possible. But keep in mind that dried fruit, honey, and acidic foods and drinks like citrus can be harmful for your teeth as well if not eaten in moderation. Try to eat more foods high in fiber and protein like nuts, cheese, leafy greens to promote strong teeth, and fresh fruit, carrots, and celery to naturally wick plaque and bacteria away from the surface of your teeth. Additionally, drink plenty of water during and after eating to promote saliva production and wash away bacteria and residual food particles.

Is There Any Kind of Sugar That Is Safe?

Ever heard of xylitol? It’s a sugar alcohol that tastes just like sugar but doesn’t contain any of the acid-promoting qualities of sugar. Commonly found in sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, and toothpastes, xylitol can actually help prevent cavity-causing bacteria! As with all things, xylitol is best in moderation, but know that there is at least one sweetener out there that won’t rot your teeth!

Reach Out to Our Friendly Team

If you have any questions on how sugar can affect your oral health, we’re here to help! Contact our team at Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry today and schedule a cleaning to keep your teeth healthy and strong. We look forward to hearing from you!

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