What Does Sugar Really Do To You?
At New Albany Implants we care for you in the way we know best: by maintaining your oral health. That doesn’t mean that we don’t care about the rest of you, though! We’re dentists first but we’re also doctors who want you to be healthy and happy, which is the very reason for today’s blog entry.
We aren’t going to just talk teeth today. We want to talk about something that affects your teeth but also can cause harm to your whole body: sugar. There’s a lot of good stuff about those sweet treats we love but there’s always the potential for overindulgence to cause harm! Let’s talk about sugar’s effect on your body and the harm it can cause.
What Happens When You Eat Sugar?
Since we’re dentists we’re going to start in the mouth. Sugar is the favorite food of the bacteria that make up your plaque, the sticky white film that coats your teeth. When plaque bacteria eat the sugars in your food they produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel and begin causing tooth decay. This is the start of potential destruction for your teeth, but is easy to take care of through cleanings, exams, and good home oral health care.
Elsewhere in your body you start to digest sugar, which is a carbohydrate. Sugar comes in two forms: fructose and glucose, and both are present in most sweet foods. Fructose goes straight to your liver, where it is turned into fat that builds up around your liver and your stomach. Glucose has a bit more value because your body can use it for energy, but it’s incredibly inefficient. Most of the glucose you eat ends up being turned into fat by the insulin that your body releases to help digest it.
So that’s what sugar immediately does to your body: it turns into fat and plaque bacteria transform it into acid.
What Are The Long Term Effects Of Sugar Consumption?
Aside from cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems sugar consumption alone doesn’t cause problems: it’s excess sugar consumption that’s the problem. Unfortunately for most of us excess sugar consumption is an everyday occurrence!
While the government doesn’t set a standard for sugar intake the American Heart Association does: they say you should consume a max of nine tablespoons a day. Guess what? The average American consumes about 20 tablespoons of added sugar, and added means that’s in addition to the sugar already present in some foods like fruit! In a month that’s equivalent to approximately five pounds of sugar!
Excess sugar consumption is linked to a lot of health conditions, such as:
- obesity-related conditions like:
- high blood pressure
- sleep apnea
- liver diseases
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases
In short, excess sugar consumption is dangerous, and not just for your teeth!
What Should I Do To Stay Healthy?
Don’t think we’re saying you have to cut out sugar entirely. It can be a nice treat once in a while! You should definitely limit your intake and avoid reaching for sweets every time you want a treat. Do your body and your teeth a favor and reach for vegetables and fruit high in fiber. Fiber helps your body slow down the sugar and give it a chance to be used for energy instead of sending it straight to the liver to be turned into fat.
In terms of your teeth you should always try to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Brush twice a day and floss in the evening to remove any leftover food particles and if you eat a sugary snack wash it down with some water to help keep your smile clean and healthy.
If you’re concerned that excess sugar consumption is harming your health, both oral and otherwise, then don’t wait for things to get worse! Call our New Albany dentist office today at (888) 469-3982 or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!