Eating sugary, sticky food increases your risk of tooth decay. This is because the bacteria in dental plaque feed on the sugar in your mouth to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel. This interactive presentation explains the effects of sugar on your body.
Be aware that food that is high in carbohydrates, like pasta, breaks down to sugar. And watch out for food that can stick to your teeth, like bread. For more information, see Simple tips to make better food choices for your teeth (PDF) .
Sugar can appear in many forms, and with various names. Here’s a list of many of the alternate names for sugar to help you identify it on ingredient statements:
|Agave nectar||Corn sweetener||Galactose||Muscovado sugar|
|Anhydrous dextrose||Corn syrup||Glucose||Palm sugar|
|Barbados sugar||Corn syrup solids||Glucose solids||Panela sugar|
|Barley malt||Crystalline fructose||Golden sugar||Panocha|
|Barley malt syrup||D-ribose||Golden syrup||Powdered sugar|
|Beet sugar||Date sugar||Grape sugar||Raw sugar|
|Blackstrap molasses||Dehydrated cane juice||HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)||Refiner's syrup|
|Brown rice syrup||Demerara sugar||Honey||Rice syrup|
|Brown sugar||Dextrin||Icing sugar||Sorghum syrup|
|Buttered syrup||Dextrose||Invert sugar||Sucanat|
|Cane juice||Diastatic malt||Lactose||Sucrose|
|Cane juice crystals||Diglycerides||Liquid fructose||Sugar (granulated)|
|Cane sugar||Ethyl maltol||Malt syrup||Sweet Sorghum|
|Caramel||Evaporated cane juice||Maltodextrin||Syrup|
|Carob syrup||Florida crystals||Maltol||Treacle|
|Castor sugar||Free-flowing brown sugars||Maltose||Turbinado sugar|
|Coconut palm sugar||Fructose||Mannose||Yellow sugar|
|Coconut sugar||Fruit juice||Maple syrup|
|Confectioner's sugar||Fruit juice concentrate||Molasses|
Soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, alcohol and even fruit juice contain high amounts of sugar and acid that can damage your teeth. Each sip causes an acid attack that lasts 20 minutes, causing damage to your tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities and increased tooth sensitivity. Energy drinks contain high amounts of acid but even sugar-free drinks contain acid, including plain carbonated water.
Get tips to reduce the effects of sugary and acidic drinks on your oral health.