The “S” word is one we all associate with being bad for our teeth and overall health in anything other than moderation. However, people are less aware of exactly how sugar causes issues like tooth decay and having this knowledge might help you think twice about how much sugar you consume.
How sugar causes cavities
It was actually Aristotle who first presented evidence that sweet foods like figs and dates caused tooth decay but nobody chose to believe him. A lot of time has passed since then and it is now certain that the link between sugar and cavities is unquestionable, though it’s not sugar on its own that’s the issues – more the reaction that occurs in the mouth after consume it.
Your mouth is home to a whole host of bacteria, some of which is welcome and some of which is harmful to your teeth. There are certain bacteria that create acid in the mouth whenever they come into contact with sugar and unfortunately, they’re responsible for taking essential minerals away from your tooth enamel, which acts as a protective coating for your teeth. Saliva plays a significant and vital role in helping to stop this damage, a process known as remineralisation. However, your teeth can only take so much wear and tear and overtime, enamel can’t keep up, which is when a cavity occurs.
The moral of the story? Don’t rely on your body’s defences to keep your safe from cavities and instead, reduce your sugar intake so it’s infrequent.
Children and tooth decay
Astonishingly, tooth decay is the principal reason why children between the ages of 5-9 are admitted to hospital in the UK, which suggests we have a big problem on our hands when it comes to watching our child’s sugar intake; 105 children a day are currently having rotten teeth taken out in hospital.
Make sure you bring your child in from the age of round 2 for regular dental appointments to give them the best possible start when it comes to their dental health.
Athletes and sugary drinks
The British Dental Journal published a study concluding gels, drinks and bars that keen sportspeople use to fuel their workouts, are hindering their dental health. Around half of elite UK athletes have signs of tooth decay, despite having healthy brushing and flossing habits and attending the dentist the recommended amount.
If you love your sport and use energy drinks, gels and bars to keep your energy levels up, drink them in moderation and drink plenty of water afterwards to minimise harmful bacteria lingering in the mouth.
If you would like to book a hygienist or dentist appointment at our Norwich practice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.