How Does Sugar Affect Oral Health?

With Halloween fast approaching, it’s important to keep your child’s (and your) sugar intake in check. Excessive sugar in a patient’s diet can increase the likelihood of dental problems, from cavities to gum disease and tooth decay. Here we will review how sugar affects oral health and how our dental office can address harmful bacteria in Arlington Heights, IL.

oral health in Arlington Heights, IL

Sugar and Oral Health in Arlington Heights, IL

Sugars and starches left in the mouth attract harmful bacteria. This bacteria feeds on debris left on the teeth and gums. Over time, if patients do not brush and floss properly, they can develop gum disease and tooth decay. Harmful bacteria irritate the gum tissue and break down the enamel, creating holes called cavities. Patients who do not care for their smiles or visit the dentist regularly can develop moderate to severe symptoms. Common signs of gum disease include bleeding, irritated, inflamed, and sensitive gums. Gum disease can lead to gum recession and loose teeth. Additionally, patients with tooth decay can experience tooth sensitivity, toothaches, and cavities.

Treating Common Dental Problems

There are several things you can do to minimize bacteria caused by excess sugar:

At-Home Oral Hygiene

One of the best ways to prevent an infection is to brush and floss daily. Brush twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss at least once daily. Flossing before brushing can also remove plaque and tartar from between teeth. Cleaning your mouth thoroughly after consuming sugar can also help fight problems like cavities and gum disease.

Dental Cleanings

Scheduling routine dental appointments for a cleaning and exam can also minimize bacterial buildup. At regular dental cleanings, our dental hygienists use stainless steel tools to remove harmful bacteria from the smile. Sometimes it is more difficult to remove tartar or hardened plaque from the teeth and gums. Our hygienists thoroughly clean bacteria from between teeth and areas of the smile that can be hard to reach.

Root Canal Treatment

We may recommend a root canal and filling if you have a cavity or extensive decay. During a root canal, we remove infected dental pulp. The pulp comprises blood vessels and nerves that keep a tooth alive. Removing this pulp, cleaning a tooth, and sealing the tooth with a filling help preserve the tooth structure. Signs of tooth decay to look for can include holes or pits in the enamel, toothaches, and tooth sensitivity.

Gum Disease Treatment

Harmful bacteria not only create cavities but can also inflame gum tissue. Our dental office provides periodontal therapy to keep patients’ gums healthy. We offer antibacterial rinses, scaling, and root planing to remove bacteria from the smile. Scaling removes plaque and tartar on and below the gum tissue. Root planing smooths the tooth roots and removes bacterial buildup from the roots. We offer scaling and root planing together and can also provide antibacterial rinses to minimize bacteria.

Fight dental infections caused by excess sugar intake. Contact AH Smiles today at (847) 230-9703. On our website, you can also request a dental appointment with Dr. Brent Engelberg.