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Plaza Dental Group: 1089 Jordan Creek Pkwy #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?


We all know that eating too many sugary foods can harm your teeth and cause tooth decay. However, sugar alone does not cause much damage. Instead, the chain of events that follow is what deals the most harm to your teeth. Read on to see how the process works.

The starting point is the mouth

There are tons of harmless and harmful bacteria present in your mouth. Certain oral bacteria feed on the sugars you eat and create acids that can destroy tooth enamel. This process is called demineralization.

Minerals in your saliva, like phosphate and calcium, help enamel repair itself. However, repeated acid attacks eventually cause mineral losses in the enamel, which eventually weakens the enamel and creates cavities.

In short, tooth decay causes cavities, which result in harmful bacteria digesting the food sugars and producing acids. If left unattended, the cavity can spread into deep layers of the tooth, causing pain and tooth loss.

By limiting your sugar intake, you can give your mouth a chance to fix the damage.

Sugar is a magnet for harmful bacteria 

The two types of harmful bacteria found in the mouth are Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus. Both feed on sugar and form dental plaque, a colorless, sticky film that builds around the surface of the teeth.

If the plaque is not washed away while brushing or with saliva, the mouth becomes more acidic, which causes cavities.
The pH scale is used to measure acidic levels in a solution. The neutral pH level is 7. If the pH of plaque drops below normal or is lesser than 5.5, the acid levels cause minerals to dissolve and eventually destroy the tooth’s enamel. This process leads to small erosions, and over time they become larger, creating deeper holes or cavities.

Habits that cause tooth decay

  1. Sticky candies – Caramels, lollipops, and cough drops contain refined sugar and tend to stick to your teeth longer. These foods gradually release sugar and give ample time for harmful bacteria to digest sugar and produce more acid. 
  2. Starchy food – Potato chips, bread, tortilla chips, and flavored crackers get trapped in your teeth and cause tooth decay. Frequent snacking on these sugar-rich foods can harm your teeth extensively. 
  3. Sugar-heavy beverages – There are high chances of increasing cavities if you constantly sip on beverages high in sugar, as the prolonged exposure to sugar is the prime opportunity for harmful bacteria to damage your teeth. 
  4.  Soft drinks – Think twice before you grab your favorite sports drink to feel energized. All energy drinks, sports drinks, and juices contain high sugar levels, which can destroy your teeth to a great extent. Additionally, these drinks have high amounts of acids that can cause tooth decay.
  5. Alcohol and tobacco – Any substances that dry your mouth can also destroy your teeth as a dry mouth increases the chances of producing harmful bacteria. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking as they are common substances that cause your mouth to dry.  

Ways to fight tooth decay

Here are some tips to fight tooth decay

  • Have a balanced diet. Eat whole grains, vegetables, dairy products, and fresh fruits.
  • Use a straw while drinking sugary or acidic drinks to lessen your teeth’s exposure.
  • Eat enough cheese, yogurt, and similar dairy products daily as they contain calcium and phosphate, which will strengthen your teeth.
  • Sip on green or black teas to help suppress harmful oral bacteria.
  • Drink plenty of fluoridated water.

Practicing good oral health is very important to keep tooth decay away.

  • Brush and floss twice a day, especially after meals.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production and prevent plaque build-up. 

Eat a balanced diet, drink water instead of sugar-heavy drinks, maintain good oral hygiene, and visit your dentist in West Des Moines for regular dental check-ups every six months.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

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4.7
Based on 392 reviews
I feel like I need to give some background. I was having a hard time. A hard time for about three years. In that time I stopped taking care of myself. I just didn’t care anymore. But then, I did some work and decided I want toIn the time I was in a “3-year dark place”, I had stripped away the enamel on my two front teeth. It caused my two front teeth to become easily stained. In a very “lady, what’s goin’ on with your teeth” way. Did I mention I’m in a very customer-facing job?Today, Dr. Odland fixed my teeth.I couldn’t be more proud to smile today. I think I smiled so much others couldn’t help but also smile. It was a good feeling.Thanks doc. And my hygienist. I’m so sorry I didn’t remember, your name. (Abigale, maybe? Good lord I’m so sorry I didn’t remember) You were great! I appreciate you!TLDR: if you need a good dentist, you should go here.read more
Briana Carpenter
Briana Carpenter
Beautiful office with great people providing excellent oral healthcare!If you’re thinking about a dental implant, I recommend Dr. Jeremy Flinkman. I had zero pain when he placed the post into the bone. In three month, I go back to be scanned for measurements for the crown. Do not get a bridge - go with an implant.read more
Kerilyn Conrad
Kerilyn Conrad
Things went very well today. It should make getting the bridge done easier. Today was prep for the Bridge. Very easy and quick. Did not have to bite into a mold. Looking forward to finishing the process.
Chris Refsland
Chris Refsland
I had a great experience with my treatment at this place. They are the most trustworthy and clean team. Their hardwork will pay you off with amazing tooth for sure. I highly recommend this place and a must visit for any of your tooth work ! Thank you !
vijay purna
vijay purna
I needed to have a tooth extracted. Dr. Dietrich was amazing. She kept reassuring me during the process, which I really needed. She worked quickly and efficiently and treated me with respect and kindness. Not a fun process but she helped calm me.
Connie Scharlach
Connie Scharlach
I had the pleasure of working with Talia in my first appointment in years. She made me feel heard emotionally and financially while still being quick and efficient. Couldn’t have asked for a better reintroduction to oral health care.
Leana Bishop
Leana Bishop
Jillian repaired my temporary crown. She is extremely pleasant and very sensitive to her patients. She also is very knowledgeable and has excellent skills in performing her dental procedures. Definitely a 5 + staff member and an asset to the Plaza Dental Group team.
Victoria Arndt
Victoria Arndt
I started going to Plaza Dental group when unsatisfied with my previous provider. My experience has been fantastic. After only one visit the staff knew me by name and remembered small details about my life. They also informed of missing sealants my previous dentist had ignored. Since going for my first visit I have had most of them replaced, as well as a Boost Whitening Treatment from Manny. The staff is excellent, and I would recommend them to even those who don’t have cavities or staining. I fell into that category and have still seen improvement in what most people labeled as a perfect smile.read more
Levi Larson
Levi Larson
I had the best experience I have ever had at the dentist before! I had Becca for my cleaning and she was the absolute best. She was so kind and super cheerful and just an extremely fun person to have clean my teeth. While doing my cleaning, Dr. Jones came in to check my teeth and was super welcoming and made me feel more comfortable than ever, given I hadn’t been to a dentist in quite a few years and made me feel so good about my teeth. Overall, I can’t describe into words how absolutely amazing my experience at Plaza was. I will most definitely be back!read more
Spencer Barnes
Spencer Barnes
I had a great experience with Dr. Jones and Manny. I had several procedures, and they took extra care each time, ensuring my comfort, understanding of the work, and smooth recovery. Great results and professional care. Absolutely recommended.
Eric Thortsen
Eric Thortsen
Everyone at Plaza Dental has been friendly and makes coming to the dentist a positive experience. Currently doing SureSmile aligners and treatment cost has been very affordable! I would recommend Dr. Odland and his team!
Breyonna Peckham
Breyonna Peckham
The hygienist and Dr are excellent. Friendly, thoughtful (what station of music would you like to hear for example) competent.I bounced around a few dentists after mine retired and am glad I found this group. Highly recommended.
Rose Mitchell
Rose Mitchell
I’ve been a patient at Plaza for over a decade. The staff is so friendly, the location is easy to access, and scheduling/rescheduling is simple and convenient. I used to hate going to the dentist but they have helped me feel comfortable with the process and confident with my smile.
Bethany Arganbright
Bethany Arganbright
All staff & dentist were very good, very helpful & they all had very nice personalities. They were knowledgeable & through. Refered me to a surgeon that could maybe help me with implants. Kudos plaza dental
Deb Stineman
Deb Stineman
I had a fear of Dentist but after my visit there it was awesome. The staff was amazing and so welcoming and friendly. Susie was the best im from Louisiana and she played some Zydeco music for me this place is amazing. The hand wax was the icing on the cake.
murrell roland
murrell roland
I highly recommend Dr. Odland. His ability to be personable and professional is exceptional! He made me feel comfortable and confident regarding my dental decisions. In addition, Noel, Carley, and Erin have been wonderful. I’ve also had a great experience with Rick. Destinae always checks you in with a smile.read more
Cheryl Fontanini
Cheryl Fontanini
Amazing team, They take the time to listen to your concerns and understand your concerns. They go above and beyond to insure you are comfortable and really get to know you.
holly schelle
holly schelle
Rick gave us a great referral to help us with getting my husband's dentures so he can have teeth again! The staff were friendly and made us feel respected.
Nancy Costa
Nancy Costa
I love coming to Plaza Dental. The people are so friendly and welcoming. Lacey is fantastic. She loves her job and her patients. I appreciate her and all she does to make me feel comfortable . She is the very best !!!
kathy and tim meyer
kathy and tim meyer
As usual, I only waited a few minutes until Talia came to bring me to the back. The treatment itself was pleasant and efficient and everybody was very friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend this place!
Martina Walther
Martina Walther

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1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

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  • Mon - Wed 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Thursday 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Friday 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Sat - Sun Closed

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