Why Does Sugar Hurt Your Teeth?

As tough as they are, our teeth can be extremely sensitive. It’s common for those wearing braces or even Invisalign to experience some sensitivity up to a week after appointments. However, there are things that can cause sensitivity beyond these appointments. One surprising culprit is sugar. In today’s blog post, we’re looking into why sugar hurts your teeth and how braces can affect that sensitivity. 

Woman with clear braces takes a half bite of a red, heart shaped lollipop

Is Sugar Bad For Your Teeth?

Sugar by itself is not harmful to your teeth. Sugar, or carbohydrates that break down into glucose (read: sugar), that remain on your teeth for an extended time can feed the bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. These bacteria will release acidic compounds, which then breaks down your enamel. This is how cavities are created.

Because of this, sensitivity to sugar usually means there’s a bigger issue going on in the background. Sensitivity to sugar and/or sensations like hot and cold mean there is damage to your tooth enamel. This may come from sugar breaking down or it could be from an accident you had while playing a sport you love. Either way, it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible to prevent further possible tooth decay.

Is Sugar Bad For Your Braces or Invisalign?

Like your teeth, sugary foods are not specifically harmful to your braces. However, whether you have traditional metal braces or Invisalign aligners, orthodontic appliances provide more nooks and crannies for food to remain stuck to your teeth for long periods of time. This is why it’s so important to follow good oral hygiene guidelines while wearing your braces.


While there are certain sugary foods you want to avoid while wearing braces, you don’t have to completely cut all sugar from your diet in order to avoid cavities or sugar sensitivity. Talk to your dental specialist about how to best care for your (sweet) tooth during your orthodontic treatment.

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