General Dentistry: Should Sugar Be Avoided?

General Dentistry: Should Sugar Be Avoided? from Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics in Sterling, VAWith all the information circulating about sugar, you may wonder if avoiding sweet treats entirely benefits your oral health. As any general dentistry office will likely tell you, cutting sugar from your diet can have a significant positive impact on your teeth and gums.

How does sugar cause dental problems?

Your mouth is full of bacteria. This is not an entirely negative thing. In fact, you need good bacteria in your mouth to break down food and help destroy bad bacteria.

Speaking of harmful bacteria, though, there is something to know about these germs: They feed on sugar. So when you eat something with sugar, the bad germs flock to it and create acids with it — acids that can erode your tooth enamel.

Further, it does not stop there. Weakened or eroded tooth enamel can make your teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay, which can further result in infection and gum disease.

Of course, this is more of an issue when you leave sugar sitting on your teeth. If you follow certain tips and good dental hygiene, you can typically have a sugary treat now and then without the situation in your mouth getting out of hand.

Tips for maintaining good oral health

If you want to indulge in sweets every now and then, you need to learn how to do so in such a way that does not harm your tooth enamel. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Brush after eating

If you brush and floss twice a day, you are on the right track. However, be sure to consider that mid-morning muffin or late-afternoon snack. If you are only brushing twice a day, sugar may sit in your mouth for hours. If you are in a place where you can brush, floss, or do a swish of mouthwash, do so! Otherwise, consider at least washing your food down with water or a cup of green tea, which may have antimicrobial properties, according to a 2016 article on

2. Drink water with fluoride

Fluoride is a natural cavity-fighter. While you can get fluoride treatments during a general dentistry appointment, it is also found in drinking water. It cannot completely counteract sugar consumption, but this mineral can help restore enamel, thereby protecting teeth from cavities.

3. Limit sugar

There is no getting around it: Cutting back on sugar does help to protect your teeth. That does not mean you need to avoid it completely, but try to limit your consumption or at least be more mindful of how and when you are eating it. In many cases, you can replace foods that contain added sugar with less sweet, more natural replacements and not miss out on taste. Less sugar to feed on often means bacteria cannot do as much damage to your enamel.

4. See your general dentist regularly

Keep up with your twice-yearly checkups and cleanings. Your dentist will clean and polish your teeth and address cavities quickly, so infection does not spread in your mouth and your gums stay healthy.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: General Dentistry in Sterling, VA


Sugar is one of the main culprits causing cavities and tooth decay, especially in children. Cutting back on sweets and seeing your general dentistry practice regularly can help you have a healthier mouth.

Request an appointment or call Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics at 703-994-4044 for an appointment in our Sterling office.

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