9 months ago
Sugar is delicious. It’s seriously, all consumingly delicious. It’s addictive and satisfies those low energy moments like no other. But what are we really sacrificing for that blood sugar spike? We know, from years of research that too much sugar in combination with being high risk will almost certainly lead to type 2 diabetes. We also know that sugar makes you put on weight if you over indulge and can cause destruction of tooth tissue.
But how does sugar cause havoc for your teeth and what can you do to minimise damage?
Let’s start from the beginning. Your mouth is a breeding place for bacteria. There is more bacteria in your mouth than anywhere in your body. Just think about it; it’s warm, cosy, and wet and it couldn’t be more welcoming, especially with a constant supply of food. This doesn’t mean it’s all bad news however, in fact its vital we have these conditions! If it weren’t for the wetness of saliva we wouldn’t be able to buffer the PH in our mouths (stop our mouth getting too acidic). If it wasn’t for the warmth we couldn’t breakdown food with enzymes and clean our tongue to make sure we can taste all that lovely food. But with the good comes the bad and unfortunately we are on a daily battle to keep the bad bacteria at bay.
In our mouths we have a huge array of bacteria, a colony of big and little, good and bad. Some of these bacteria are pretty nasty, causing gum disease and breaking down your tooth structure.! This is actually one of the main and most important reasons for why we brush our teeth. ! ! When we sleep and throughout the day the bacteria begin to take residence, they form a thick layer which grows in ‘evilness’ the longer it’s left. This invisible ‘film’ of bacteria (called plaque) that covers your tooth and on the top of your gum line can start causing issues within 24 hours of being left.
But like us, bacteria can not cause damage/live without nutrients. Bacteria feed off sugar molecules and when they process these they excrete an acid which causes weakening of the surface of the tooth. Eventually with multiple acid attacks we get a micro break in the tooth and bacteria can enter the tooth and start causing decay inside the tooth. This then leads to the need for a filling or even if left too long a root canal or extraction.
As with everything moderation is key. Sugar isn’t bad par say. In fact many things are broken down into sugar in the body and we need it to function.
Take a potato for example, the starch will eventually be broken into a type of sugar after digestion. The key is the frequency and type of sugar you consume throughout the day. The general rule is to keep sugary snacks or foods to 3 or less time in a day and to try and pair it with a meal time, not on it’s own. This limits the amount of acid excreted onto your teeth and allows your teeth time to help recover by rebuilding the tooth’s molecules it lost, to some extent.
BDS (Hons.) MJDF RCS (Eng), MClinDent (FRP Lond) FICOI, MSc (Dental Implantology)
BDS (Lond) MJDF RCS (Eng)