Everyone knows that eating sugar increases your risk of developing cavities, especially if you don't do a very good job of brushing your teeth. However, did you know that it can also cause problems for your gums, as well? If you're interested in protecting your gum health and want to do whatever you can, read this guide to find out why sugar is such a problem and what you can do to combat it.
What Sugar Does
Sugar isn't actually a big deal in and of itself for your gums. However, the big problem here is that sugar is food for bacteria.
Bacteria is ultimately responsible for the vast majority of gum disease cases. Too much bacteria in the mouth creates inflammation and eventually infection in the gums, triggering gingivitis and then periodontitis.
What Happens Next
When you eat a lot of sugar, the bacteria in your mouth thrive. They're able to not only feed themselves but are able to utilize the energy gained by eating that sugar to reproduce and create more bacteria. This process can continue unhindered for hours if it takes you a long time to brush your teeth after eating.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem here is that if you don't take care of your gums quickly, gum disease can progress to periodontitis. At this point, it's no longer in your power to reverse the condition and you'll need help from a dentist.
Solving the Problem
There are several things you can do to minimize the damage that's being done to your gums by sugar.
The first is to reduce the amount of sugar that you eat. You don't have to cut it out completely, but just by eating it less often or in smaller quantities, you'll be starving some of the bacteria in your mouth and helping their numbers to dwindle.
Secondly, always brush after meals to wash away as much bacteria and built-up plaque as possible. Make sure you're flossing at least once a day, too.
Lastly, go to the dentist's office as often as they recommend, which is usually twice a year. Your dentist will be able to clear away hardened plaque (tartar) before it can cause big problems for your gums, and if you have gum disease, they can stop it for you with a deep cleaning and antibiotics.
Eating sugar is bad news for teeth and gums. If you eat sugar regularly, follow this guide's directions to help protect your gums and don't forget to visit with a dentist to assess the damage that's already been done.
For more information, contact a dental clinic like Sun Dental.