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The Effects of Sugar on Our Teeth

Now that Halloween has come and gone, leaving your kids with an abundant supply of candy, it’s important to review some topics related to oral hygiene – namely, the effects of sugar on your teeth.

It’s known that over-consuming this substance – whether raw or refined in things like high fructose corn syrup (seen in sweet drinks) – can lead to cavities. Bacteria that lives in your mouth uses it as a form of energy, multiplying and becoming plaque. Plaque is not good, but it’s something we see every day here at Beaverton Tendercare when we clean people’s teeth.

Plaque essentially reinforces itself using sugar as its armor, making it harder for your saliva to wash away the bacteria. Here’s one way to explain it to your kids: think of the bacteria as soldiers and plaque as the army that comes together when those soldiers join up. An army is much harder to defeat than individual soldiers.

Excessive consumption of sweet food and drinks speeds up the process of tooth decay, leading to more serious problems like root canals and tooth loss. But there’s hope still! Curbing the amount you ingest can go a long way in caring for your teeth.




Here’s some facts you might not have known about the nutrition content in common candy and soft drinks. These numbers are pretty crazy when you look at the amounts in each product:

  • Snickers Bar – total sugar: 30 grams, total calories: 170, calories from sugar: 72 Gasp! That’s 14 cubes of the white stuff – like you’d put in your coffee – in each bar!
  • Skittles – total sugar: 47 grams, total calories: 250, calories from sugar: 188 A whopping 12 cubes in each pack!
  • Starburst Fruit Chews– total sugar: 34 grams, total calories: 240, calories from sugar: 188 8½ sugar cubes per pack; that’s almost 1 sugar cube per piece!
  • Reeses Peanutbutter Cups – total sugar: 20 grams, total calories: 230, calories from sugar: 80 A bit better but still not good at 5 cubes.


And here is the sugar content in some popular soft drinks:

  • 1 can of Coca-Cola (12 oz.) – total sugar: 39 grams, total calories: 140, calories from sugar: 140 10 cubes per each can consumed.
  • 1 can of Rockstar Energy Drink (480 ml) – total sugar: 31 grams, total calories 124, calories from sugar: 124 15½ sugar cubes! Holy Cow! You’ll be a Rockstar without any teeth if you drink these regularly.
  • 1 bottle of Nesquik Chocolate Milk (16 oz.) – total sugar: 58 grams, total calories: 400, calories from sugar: 232 15 sugar cubes. You probably thought, because it’s milk, it’s a healthier option. Think again.


Chocolate Bar has how much sugar


A few of these drinks or candies every once in a while pose no real harm; it’s when you consume one or more of these sweets every day that it can be a problem for the health of your teeth. Proper oral hygiene – brushing and flossing each day, along with limiting your sweets intake and maintaining a healthy diet – are ways to combat plaque and keep your teeth healthy and happy.

We nurture your health and your smile here at Beaverton TenderCare Dental. We believe proper oral care is equally about keeping healthful habits as it is about maintaining good oral hygiene. To schedule your next dental appointment, call us at 503-670-7088.

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