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What Does High Fructose Corn Syrup Do to My Teeth?

Pink and white striped bag of popcorn next to jar overflowing with caramel topped with waffle cone, ice cream, and candy

It’s no secret that sugar is bad for your teeth, but it’s not the only sweetener that’s bad for your oral health! You may have heard about high fructose corn syrup and its damaging affects to your overall wellness, but what exactly is it and how does it harm your teeth?

What Is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is made from corn that has been refined into syrup. It contains a similar amount of calories as regular sugar. High fructose corn syrup from corn is much cheaper to produce than sugar is from sugar beets and sugar cane, so you’ll find it as a main ingredient in many processed foods, snacks, and beverages.

How HFCS Affects Teeth

Sugar harms teeth because plaque and bacteria release harmful acid that damages enamel when they feed on it. But HFCS has a slightly different effect. Because it causes more intense blood sugar spikes in your body, your body tends to continually pull minerals from your teeth and bones in order to restore balance in your body. Since your teeth are losing more minerals, they are more likely to develop tooth decay.

How to Treat Tooth Decay

  1. If you have a cavity, you will need to get a filling in order to prevent further decay.
  2. As bacteria spread to your tooth root, it becomes harder to salvage your teeth. Your dentist may suggest that you need a root canal or a tooth extraction altogether.
  3. If you must have your decayed tooth extracted, you will need to consider temporary or permanent tooth replacement options so that you can eat, talk, and smile with confidence.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

  • Establish a good oral hygiene routine! Consistently brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss daily.
  • Maintain a proper diet that is low in all kinds of added sugar, meaning sugar that has been added during processing. This includes table sugar, HFCS, honey, molasses, brown sugar, cane juice, fruit nectar, etc.
  • Check food and beverage ingredient labels to make sure you aren’t unknowingly consuming too much sugar and sweeteners. Ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity by weight. Avoid the product if sugar or other added sweeteners are the first ingredient.
  • Limit processed foods as much as you can. Incorporate more protein, fiber, whole grains, and whole fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Don’t forget to visit Dr. Merchant twice a year for cleanings and examinations!

At LM Family Dentistry, we’re committed to helping you and your family have healthy smiles. Contact us to schedule an appointment to make sure your oral health is in good shape!

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LM Family Dentistry

LM Family Dentistry