Aerial view of six donuts on a half pink, half blue counter with pink and white icing, sprinkles, and shredded coconut

What you eat affects your teeth, and you’ve probably heard many times by now that sugar is a main cause of cavities and decay. It’s easy to avoid any kind of sweetener after hearing this repeatedly, but there is one kind of sweetener that actually helps teeth—and tastes good, too!

How Does Sugar Affect My Oral Health?

Eating sugar doesn’t actually harm your oral health, but it’s the acids that the bacteria on your teeth release after breaking down the sugar that do harm it. These acids eat away at your tooth enamel, making it easier to develop cavities, decay, and gum disease.

How Can I Protect My Teeth From Sugar?

    • The best way to lessen the impact that sugar has on your oral health is to monitor your diet and to brush and floss your teeth often. After every meal is ideal, but if you can do it morning and night, that’s great! Establishing a consistent oral healthcare routine will help you curb the effects of bacteria on your teeth and give you a bright and healthy smile.
    • Sugar is in candy, ice cream, and soda, but don’t forget that dried fruit, honey, and acidic foods and drinks like citrus and coffee are harmful for your teeth as well.
    • Try to eat more foods that have higher amounts of protein and fiber such as cheese, nuts, leafy greens, and fresh fruit to naturally wick plaque and bacteria away from the surface of your teeth.
    • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, especially during and after consuming sugary foods and beverages.

One Safe Sweetener: Xylitol

If you’ve ever seen “xylitol” on a label, it’s actually good for your oral health! Commonly seen in mints and sugar-free gum, xylitol is safe for your teeth because bacteria don’t produce harmful acids when they come into contact with xylitol. As with all things, xylitol is best in moderation, but don’t think that you need to give up on all of the sweet stuff in order to keep your teeth healthy.

Your Oral Health Is Our Priority!

If you have any questions about sugar and your oral health, we’re here to help. Whether you need an examination and cleaning or a more personalized procedure, our team at Rock Ridge Family Dentistry is here to assist you!

We look forward to helping you achieve great oral health!

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