You may know that fast food isn’t good for your waistline, but did you know it can be just as bad for your gumline? It’s true: fast food can be very bad for your oral health. Here’s how fast food is putting your oral health at risk.
Sugar in Everything
The average American consumes about 13 times as much sugar as we did 200 years ago. And consuming this sugar has serious consequences for your oral health. Oral bacteria feed on sugar, and when they consume it they produce acids that damage your tooth enamel and your gums. This can lead to cavities and gum disease.
It also causes oral bacteria to grow, which can mean an infection of your gums and potentially your teeth.
The problem with fast food is that it contains a lot more sugar than you think. Practically everything has sugar in it, and you can easily end up eating several times your recommended daily dose of sugar in just one meal.
Acid Wash It Down
And if you’re eating at a fast food restaurant, the chances are good that you’re eating a combo, which comes with a drink. And most of those drinks are full of sugar. For example, a medium fast food cola contains about 11 teaspoons of sugar. And you might think you’re doing the smart thing by skipping that cola at lunch and getting a Starbucks instead, but you’d be wrong. Some Starbucks drinks contain as much as 20 teaspoons of sugar!
So what if you decide to have a sugar-free diet soda? It may be a little better, but the soda itself can be problematic. We talk about the acid secreted by bacteria that can damage enamel and gums, but soda itself is acidic. In fact, it’s about 1000 times more acidic than is necessary to dissolve your tooth enamel. And this can be worse than just cavities. Habitual soda consumption can erode your tooth enamel on all your teeth, and it may require extensive reconstructive dentistry to repair.
People who eat fast food regularly are at risk for becoming overweight. Obesity and high levels of sugar consumption can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes. And diabetes is very bad for your teeth. Diabetes can increase your risk of gum disease, and once you develop gum disease you enter a bad situation. That’s because gum disease can actually make it harder to control your blood sugar, and if you can’t control your blood sugar, gum disease worsens . See the problem?
Repairing Tooth Damage from Your Fast-Food Habit
Depending on how bad your fast food habit is, you may have experienced significant oral health problems as a result. These may require reconstructive dentistry to address.
If you have developed one or more cavities as a result of sugar consumption, tooth-colored fillings can be used to repair your teeth.
If you experienced tooth erosion related to soda consumption, a more comprehensive solution is required. Dental crowns can be placed over your damaged teeth. Fortunately, these are very resistant to acid attack, but your gums are still vulnerable.
Gum disease treatment can hopefully help combat diabetes, but if you don’t act quickly, you may lose one or more teeth. Lost teeth can be replaced with dental implants–after the gum disease is treated.
You don’t have to give up fast food completely to preserve your oral health. But cutting down can definitely help your oral health. Fast food should be an occasional indulgence, not a daily habit. And if you do make it a daily habit, you’ll likely experience oral health consequences as a result.
If you are looking for a dentist in Harriman or Orange County that can help protect your oral health, please call 845-783-6466 today for an appointment with a dentist at Harriman Family Dental.