Everyone knows that eating too much sugar can be bad for your health. Our dentists in Donvale see many dental problems that are caused by sugary drinks and snacks. But how does sugar affect your teeth exactly?
Why Sugar Is Bad for Your Teeth
There’s a direct link between sugar consumption and tooth decay. Several studies have found that children with a high sugar diet tend to have more dental caries than those who consume less sugar.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults and children consume less than 10% of their calories from sugar. They also recommend reducing sugar to less than 5% of total energy intake to reduce the risk of dental caries. This advice is based on population studies tracking dental decay alongside average sugar intake.
How Sugar Causes Cavities
Sugar alone doesn’t cause damage to your teeth. But there are certain types of bacteria in your mouth that produce acid when they come into contact with sugar in food and drink.
This acid eats away at the hard enamel coating on your teeth, causing mineral loss and weaknesses.
Over time, if your teeth are constantly being subjected to these acid attacks, the enamel will wear away completely in places, causing cavities.
The layers of the tooth under the enamel are much softer, and so cavities can grow quickly if they’re not treated. This will eventually lead to toothache, as the sensitive areas of the tooth are exposed, and possible infection.
Can You Reverse Sugar Damage to Teeth?
Luckily, your body has a natural defence mechanism to prevent damage from acid-causing bacteria.
The saliva in your mouth contains minerals, which help to “demineralise” and repair the damage to your tooth enamel.
Fluoride and other minerals in toothpaste can also help with this demineralisation.
However, if you’re constantly snacking or consuming drinks within sugar, the saliva in your mouth doesn’t get a chance to wash away the acid and demineralise your teeth.
Once the enamel on your teeth has been worn away to the point of causing a cavity, it’s not possible for your teeth to demineralise. At this point, you’ll need a filling to restore the tooth.
Protecting Your Teeth from the Effects of Sugar
You don’t have to cut sugar out of your diet completely. While we definitely recommend cutting down on foods containing added sugar, brushing your teeth regularly and having regular dental check-ups will help keep your teeth free of cavities.
If you’re concerned that your teeth may have been damaged from eating too much sugar, the first thing you should do is make an appointment for a check-up.
The dentists at our dental clinic in Donvale can assess the health of your teeth, suggest treatments and give you general advice to improve your oral hygiene and the strength of your teeth.
Don’t be worried or embarrassed if you think you or your children have been eating too much sugar. We’re here to help. Get in touch with us today to arrange a consultation.