Sugar and Tooth Decay: Myths and Facts By Dr. Ashlin on July 05, 2021

Sugar and Tooth Decay: Myths and Facts

We like sugar as much as anyone, especially summer treats like ice cream and snow cones! And who doesn’t love to cool down with a popsicle on a hot sunny day? But, sugar has a critical effect on our oral health; so we want you to have all the right information. That’s why this month’s blog features some myths and facts about sugar and oral health. Let’s start with the MYTHS. Here we will debunk some false information regarding sugar and your teeth!

      1. Cutting out sweets from your diet will prevent all tooth decay. FALSE

In addition to this being a difficult and unpleasant endeavor, completely eliminating sweets will NOT ensure that you will never get a cavity. While sweets significantly increase your                risk for tooth decay, there are other foods and drinks that can damage tooth enamel as well. Over-consumption of wine, starchy foods, carbohydrates, sodas, Gatorade, and citrus fruits may all harm your teeth and lead to cavities. Moderation is key!

       2. Sugar-free beverages will not harm your teeth. FALSE

Sugar-free beverages like “diet soda” are just as acidic as sugary drinks. This creates just as much damage to the enamel. 
       3. Bleeding gums are perfectly normal. FALSE

Bleeding gums after flossing or brushing are a sign of inflammation. This inflammation is a sign of periodontal disease (or gum disease) that developed as a result of        food/bacteria/plaque building up around the gums.  As we say, “Healthy gums don’t bleed”. If yours bleed, schedule a cleaning so that Dr. Ashlin or Dr. Kleinheinz can evaluate the source and make a plan to restore your gum health. 

Here are some FACTS! Let’s talk about the truth regarding sugar and tooth decay.
       1. Sugar is directly correlated to cavity formation. FACT 

Sugar and other carbohydrates attract bacteria to the teeth. The bacteria produce acid, which erodes the teeth and causes decay. 

       2. Sugar-free gum is safe for your teeth unlike other sugar-free candy. FACT

Sugar-free candy can still erode your teeth due to their acidity. Sugar-free gum, however, is safer for your teeth and even beneficial in many ways. Sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production and help mineralize enamel, especially if it contains xylitol. 
       3. Sugar frequency has more of an effect on cavity formation than the amount. FACT

The more often your teeth come into contact with sugar, the greater risk for decay. For example, it’s better to drink a soda quickly at a meal than to sip it slowly throughout the afternoon. Frequent sugar is more harmful than a lot of sugar at one time.

Call us at 704-542-6003 if you have any questions about how the sugar in your diet may be affecting your teeth! 

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Kleinheinz Dentistry

Drs. Jeffrey S. Kleinheinz and Katrina Ashlin provide comfortable and convenient dental care to patients of all ages. Our dentists are proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The North Carolina Dental Society
  • The Charlotte Dental Society

You can schedule an appointment at our office in Charlotte, NC, by contacting us online or calling (704) 542-6003.

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