Cutting sugar out of your diet is not only good for your dental health, it is good for your overall health. Too much sugar not only contributes to tooth decay and periodontal disease, it also contributes to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Although you can make the distinction between natural sugars and added sugar, most every food besides fruits have sugar added, meaning most people’s diets are high in sugar. For women, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends they get no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day which is equal to about six teaspoons, or 100 calories, just less than the amount of sugar in one can of soda. However, studies show that the average American woman eats about three times that amount, daily.
The Oral-Systemic Connection
Eating too much added sugar can affect your health in several ways. One way is by causing periodontal disease which has been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, and more. When sugar is left on your teeth, even for under 20 hours, it attracts harmful bacteria that metabolize it and release acids as a result. The bacteria, sugar, and acids mix with your saliva and form plaque. If the plaque is not brushed and flossed away, it hardens into a cement-like material called tartar. When left untreated the plaque and tartar can begin to develop along and under the gum line infecting the gingival tissue and causing periodontitis, the severest stage of gum disease.