Why Sugar Is Destroying Your Teeth
Sugar is a hot topic at the moment. There’s plenty of dietary bloggers out there saying to try and cut sugar out of your diet to help your body ‘heal’. That it’s doing damage to your body from the inside. But it seems like the most important aspect of sugar’s effects on the body is being glossed over a lot of the time, except for in those oral hygiene lessons in primary school.
What effect is that you say?
Tooth decay. Sugar is the number one enemy of teeth and what leads to tooth decay in the vast majority of cases. So how does this happen?
Sugar and Cavities
Sugar, especially in developing teeth, is a leading cause of cavities. This is because sugar helps harmful bacteria in your mouth grow that eats away at tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is the protective layer of your teeth that helps keep them safe and tough. Sugar plus bacteria leads to harmful acid which breaks down your tooth enamel, which in turn leads to holes in your teeth, or cavities.
Fighting Back – Naturally
Your saliva has key elements in it like calcium which helps to fight the acid in your mouth, which is great news in fighting the battle against this harmful acid. Fluoride, also present in your toothpaste and also our water supply helps to fight the good fight. However, if you are eating a lot of sugar throughout the day (especially without brushing your teeth) these elements are overwhelmed in the face of the acids present. If you are drinking bottled water instead of tap water, you are also not receiving enough fluoride to combat the sugar, despite naysayers chatter about adding fluoride to water.
Read Also: What is Laser Dentistry
How Can I Help Fight Decay?
Apart from the obvious – cutting down your sugar intake, there are certain other ways that you can help fight the decay that sugar causes.
Add Extra Calcium to Your Diet
Calcium is important for strengthening your tooth enamel. Dairy is a natural calcium rich dietary source. This includes cheeses, yoghurts, milks, and butter, etc. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and seafood are also relatively high in calcium. Vegans and lactose intolerant people may need to take a calcium supplement to bump up their calcium supply.
Optimise Your Saliva Flow
How can you get more saliva? Those gum ads are actually true – chewing a sugar free gum can help to stimulate your saliva. Also munching down on veggies and fruit for snacks can help as well. Making sure that you are always hydrated is also essential. For most people, this means around 3L or so of water per day.
Read Also: Reasons to Maintain Healthy Mouth
Tea for Fighting Bacteria
There are various elements in tea that can help to fight the bacteria in your mouth, believe it or not. Green or black tea several times throughout the day can help the fight going on in your mouth.
Fluoride to Keep Your Tooth Enamel Strong
Always make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride, and brush at least twice a day! The ideal time to brush your teeth is after meals and snacks, especially if you’ve consumed sugars or starches. If you are a bottled water drinker, consider switching to tap water to get more fluoride across your day.
Cutting Down Your Sugar Intake
Cut down your sugar intake, even if it’s just one thing at a time – like soft drinks, or sugar in your coffee. If you really can’t live without that sweet hit, you might like to consider switching to artificial sweeteners. These also come with possible health effects, so try and keep them to a minimum too.
Think you might have enamel damage caused by sugar? Come in for a checkup at Maroubra Dental Avenue. We can assess your teeth and put into place an action plan designed just for you!