Addiction to Sugar and Its Effects on Teeth
March 10, 2023
Everybody wants sugar once in a while. But there are those who cannot get enough of it. You’ve likely heard how sugar can affect your weight and teeth.
Although you won’t see right away how excessive sugar consumption can harm your smile, over time, the effects will become obvious.
Let’s talk more about how sugar can damage the teeth.
How Does Sugar Addiction Work?
Sugar turns into glucose quickly, causing blood sugar levels to surge. This spark of energy can be addictive.
To the brain, sugar is a form of reward, which can make a person constantly crave it. But sugar overindulgence can lead to health issues, such as obesity.
If you turn to sugar to feel better or more relaxed and start to lose control over your dietary habits, you may be developing a sugar addiction.
Sugar can only provide a temporary solution. You may find sweets comforting, but the more you depend on sugary foods, the more likely you are to become addicted.
Excessive consumption can result in weight and self-esteem issues, which can fuel the addiction further.
How Sugar Intake Affects the Teeth
The mouth is home to good and bad bacteria. Keeping them balanced keeps your oral health in good condition. But your diet, lifestyle, and habits can cause bad bacteria to outnumber good bacteria.
Sugar consumption is one factor that contributes to the growth of harmful bacteria. Harmful bacteria feed off sugars and produce acids that attack the enamel, leading to erosion, decay, and cavities. This doesn’t happen in an instant, but poor oral hygiene can aggravate it.
Plaque, the bacteria-laden film, can build up quickly on the surfaces of the teeth if food deposits linger in the mouth. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque can calcify and form tartar.
Since tartar keeps you from getting access to the tooth surface, it becomes easier for bad bacteria to spread and acids to attack and eat away at the enamel. Enamel erosion results in the teeth losing their protective barrier. This can lead to discoloration, heightened sensitivity, and severe toothaches.
The darker layer beneath the enamel becomes more prominent, making your smile appear dull. The roots of the teeth also become exposed, making them sensitive to hot and cold food or beverages.
Dealing with Sugar Cravings and Addiction
- Be mindful of your habits. Pay attention when you’re eating to avoid overconsumption. Chew slow and eat undistracted, if possible.
- Don’t stock up on sweets. Get rid of too many sweets in your supplies. Avoid shopping for them so you can keep them out of sight.
- Switch to healthier choices. When you’re craving soda or sweetened juice, drink plain water instead. Once your thirst is quenched, it’ll be easier to calm your sweet tooth. If your brain looks for chocolates, reach for a banana or an apple instead.
- Take walks after meals. Try to take walks after eating to reduce blood sugar and improve digestion. Walking helps the body process the food you eat and avoids bloating.
- Avoid constant snacking. Limit your snacks during mealtimes. Grazing creates more food for harmful bacteria, causing plaque to build up faster, and producing more acids that can beat down the enamel.
Learn More about Improving Your Dietary Habits for Better Oral Health.
Are you worried that your love for sweets may already be taking a toll on your teeth and gums? If you’re located in Malton, ON, contact us today at Westwood Dental. Request a consultation with the dentist to make sure sugars and harmful bacteria aren't ruining your smile.