Sugar is an integral part of our diet but it is also called sweet poison. It affects general as well as dental health. Dietary sugar-free is the most important risk factor for dental caries.
Have you ever wondered how sugar rots your teeth?
Most people know that consuming too much sugar causes cavities and tooth decay but not many know how it happens.
Our mouth is full of beneficial as well as harmful bacteria. The harmful bacteria feed on the sugars we consume and creates acids that attack and damage our tooth enamel, the protective outermost layer of our teeth. This leads to cavities or holes in our teeth which if untreated, can lead to potential loss of the tooth and pain.
When you consume sugar, it interacts with the plaque bacteria to produce acid. This acid dissolves your enamel by creating deep cavities in the teeth. This makes the acid the real culprit for tooth decay and not the sugar.
Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk but children and adolescents are at more risk. Plaque begins to build up on teeth 20 minutes after we eat and if it is not removed effectively, tooth decay starts. People who consume sticky foods and indulge in in-between meal snacking are at high risk.
We consume far too much sugar in our diet. WHO recommends 30 grams/7 teaspoons of sugar per day for an adult. The recommendation for children is 24 grams between ages 5-11 years and 19 grams for 4-6 years. It is recommended to reduce the sugar intake to 5% of our energy intake.
5 Easy Ways to reduce dental caries
- Brushing twice daily with a fluoride-containing toothpaste as well as flossing daily.
- Reduce the consumption of sticky foods and rinsing the mouth with water if they are consumed.
- In-between meal snacking should be avoided.
- Reduce the consumption of sugary beverages.
- Only eat sugary foods at mealtimes.
Bonus Tip: Have the Good Sugar
Have you heard of xylitol, the sugar alcohol that tastes like sugar but does not produce acid that causes cavities? It is commonly present in sugar-free gums and mints.
Medically the use of xylitol gums significantly reduces the risk of dental caries. Chewing these sugar-free gums for 20 minutes after eating and drinking helps to prevent cavities.
If you have any questions on how sugar can affect our oral health we are here to help!