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Most of us enjoy indulging in a sugary treat every now and then. However, they’re called that for a reason, and we’ve been told time and time again how too much sugar can have negative impacts on our health and wellness. It’s also well known that sugar has a detrimental effect on teeth as well, but instead of taking this just at face value, let’s take a look into what exactly is going on as you nibble on that piece of candy.
The short answer, believe it or not, is it isn’t! Sugar by itself is not going to have any major negative impact on your chompers. Before you go and celebrate however, know that you aren’t off the hook quite yet. Unknown to you, your mouth is home to millions of tiny little residents. These bacteria are for the most part pretty harmless, and in fact can be quite helpful in assisting the breakdown of food. Any “bad” bacteria that do show up are usually outcompeted by the locals, and the balance stays in check. However, if you introduce excessive amounts of sugar into the community, the “bad” bacteria responsible for tooth decay will begin to thrive and kick out the other harmless bacteria. Once this balance change occurs, the intruders take up residence, and it becomes hard to get rid of them. Therefore, a high sugar diet will encourage the growth of harmful bacteria, which begin to gnaw away at your gums and enamel. So it’s not that sugar is inherently doing any damage, the bacteria in our mouth just seem to like it as much as we do.
Lucky for you, there are still ways for you to enjoy sugary treats without forcing your teeth to pay a heavy price. The less time the sugar spends on your teeth, the less of a chance bacteria have to colonize. Ironically enough, it is advantageous to consume your treat quickly to minimize the time it has to contact your teeth. Follow this up with a quick brush, or a rinse of water if a brush isn’t available. Your choice of sweet can also have a major impact. Opt for treats that aren’t sticky or filled with caramel, as these are harder to get off your teeth. Anything with nuts or harder candies that require a lot of chewing can help break up the stickiness as well.
We certainly aren’t saying you should stave off sugar entirely. Having something sweet is everyone’s guilty pleasure, and should be an enjoyable experience. Just be aware of the little critters all around us that are itching to find a cozy new home, hopefully with a plentiful supply of their favourite food. Centennial Smiles is always happy to take on new clients, or to answer any further questions you may have. Feel free to reach us at (587) 317‑7959 anytime!