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5 things that happen to your teeth when you cut out sugar

Cutting out added sugar from your diet is never a bad thing. Aside from the positive physical effects it will have on your body — weight loss , better skin , mental clarity — your teeth will thank you, too. Of course, this is not news. Ever since childhood, we are told that too much candy will rot your teeth. But, less tooth decay is not the only benefit for your mouth.

INSIDER spoke with Dr. Jared Shulman, D.M.D, a South Florida based dentist at the Coral Springs Dental Center , who shared some interesting facts about how beneficial cutting added sugars truly is for your mouth.

Here are five ways cutting sugar will improve your oral health.

You’ll experience less tooth decay.

Cutting out sugar will keep your teeth from rotting.
“We all have bacteria in our mouths, that’s unavoidable,” Dr. Shulman said. “But, when we eat sugar we’re basically feeding that bacteria which mixes with the sugar and produces acid which rots our teeth.”

Dr. Shulman explained that it’s not necessarily about how much sugar you’re consuming but at what speed you’re consuming it at. “If you sip on a 12 oz. can of soda for an hour, that is much worse than just chugging a 2-liter bottle in a minute,” he shared. “The longer the teeth are exposed to the sugar, the more time the bacteria in your mouth has to create the acid and rot your teeth.”

Your overall health could improve.

You’ll also get fewer cavities.
Less tooth decay means less chance of getting cavities which can lead to tooth loss. Dr. Shulman said this will be beneficial to your overall health as well. “There have been many studies linking oral hygiene to heart health, so if you keep your mouth in good shape, your body will reap the benefits, as well,” he explained.

A 2017 stud y showed a link between gum disease and your risk level for getting heart disease. Your mouth is like the gateway into your body, so think about what foods you’re putting in there and how they’ll affect you.

You’ll likely have less tooth discoloration.

Sugar can turn your teeth black.
“Sugar can cause cavities, which can turn your teeth black,” Dr. Shulman said. “This isn’t the same as tooth stain, which can come from coffee or tea, but it’s discoloration nonetheless.”

If you keep your mouth clean and as cavity-free as possible, you won’t have to worry about your teeth turning strange colors from decay and cavities.

You’ll have better breath.

No one wants bad breath.
Dr. Shulman said with less sugar your breath will improve. “Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause bad breath,” he explained. “So, the more sugar you’re eating the more bad breath you’re creating.”

That is why Dr. Shulman always recommends sugar-free candy or gum. “Your breath won’t improve if you chew mint gum full of sugar. Always opt for the sugar-free option,” he shared.

You’ll have a healthier mouth.

Your mouth will become less susceptible to bacteria.
When you lessen your sugar intake you’re creating less substrate for bacteria to grow on your teeth — and that’s a good thing.

But Dr. Shulman warns that sugar means all sugar. “People think if they drink fruit juice instead of soda the sugar won’t be as bad, but sugar is sugar whether it’s coming from fruit or candy,” he explains. “Aside from xylitol, which has been researched to hinder tooth decay, any kind of simple sugars are going to affect your oral hygiene.”

So, what do you do if cutting out sugar just isn’t in the cards for you? Well, Dr. Shulman recommends brushing and flossing twice a day. “From a dentist’s perspective it’s not necessary to completely eliminate sugar from your diet as long as you’re maintaining a healthy mouth — brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, getting your cleanings on time — if you take care of your teeth, they’ll last. That’s what they’re meant to do,” he said.

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