When thinking about your oral health, you probably remember how often you’ve been told not to eat too much candy of your teeth will rot out. Just about everyone has been told that at some point in their lives, and so we generally know not to eat too much candy. There is a problem with that, though.
Candy isn’t the only culprit when it comes to sugar and decay. Candy is only the most obvious. Our society thinks that if we keep the candy away, our family’s teeth will be fine. You will quickly learn that cutting candy isn’t enough.
Over the next two blog posts, we are going to take a look at sugar and how it affects your body and teeth. The number of decay cases we see at our Houston, TX dentist office are growing, and it’s, in large part, due to the excessive amounts of sugar we eat from unexpected sources.
Where Can Sugar Be Found?
The better question is where can sugar NOT be found. Pick up just about any processed food at the store and check the label. You will find sugar (in all forms) in just about everything! Sugar takes many forms, so it’s important that you know how to identify it so that you know exactly how much is going into your body!
Pasta/Bread – We love our pasta and bread (sometimes together!) in the United States. Unfortunately, pasta and bread are loaded with carbohydrates, which should be spelled S-U-G-A-R.
Potatoes – Potatoes are technically a vegetable, but the amount of carbohydrates in a potato (or an ear of corn, for that matter) is alarming. Especially when you consider how often we eat potatoes or potato products!
Sauces and Condiments – The next time you buy a bottle of ketchup, check out the list of ingredients. Now think about how often your child wants ketchup with his food!
The Downward Spiral of Sugar Intake
The problem with sugar is difficult to explain. You see, your body needs a little bit of sugar to operate, but what we don’t often remember is that your body is capable of turning protein into sugar. In other words, you don’t need to add any extra sugar to your diet!
Sugar actually affects your brain. It activates the reward center of your brain, which makes you believe that you are getting a treat. Who doesn’t want more treats in their life? That’s just what your brain tells your body. Once you eat sugar, your body wants more because it makes you feel good!
Some research shows that the pancreas doesn’t actually use all of the available sugar for energy. Instead, it turns that sugar into fat to store for later. Your body, looking for that energy, tells the brain that you need more food, which will eventually lead to weight gain and other obesity-related conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.
The Impact on Your Teeth
Your body is not the only thing affected. Your teeth are going to undergo major problems with a sugar-filled diet. Take a look at some of the most common problems associated with the overconsumption of sugar.
Decay – We all know that sugar causes decay. It gets stuck to our teeth where bacteria can come to find it. The bacteria produces acid as a byproduct, and your enamel gets destroyed.
Dehydration – Sugary beverages don’t keep you as hydrated as beverage companies would like for you to believe. The only drink that keeps your body hydrated is water. If your body becomes dehydrated, it isn’t able to produce enough saliva for your mouth, which will lead to dry mouth conditions and more decay.
Weak Enamel – Your teeth need nutrients and minerals from the food that you eat. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates has very little nutrients and minerals. The result is weak tooth enamel and decay.
Check Back for Part 2
We are going to continue our conversation about sugar and how it affects your teeth and body in our next blog post, so check back with us. Our next post will give you some ideas about how you can help yourself get away from sugar addiction.
In the meantime, contact our office to set up appointments for your family. We would love to help you learn more about how to care for your teeth with the foods that you eat, so call today!