What sugar does to our teeth?
Not only is the rising sugar which has crept into our diets got us fatter and craving for the next hit, it’s killing our teeth.
Around half of 8 year olds have dental decay and that means likely decay in their adult teeth. Around 500 kids a week in England alone are being put under GA to have most of their rotten teeth removed.
Every time we consume sugar, the bacteria which sticks to the teeth surface converts it into acid during an acid attack which gradually eats away at the tough outer protective enamel and once through the enamel will lead to rapid destruction of your tooth.
When is most damaging?
An acid attack usually lasts around 30 minutes regardless of how much sugar is consumed and will lead to the same effect. The length of the acid attack depends on how much saliva is in your mouth and how long the sugary food stays in contact with your teeth. Put simply if you have less saliva and sticky sugary food regularly then your chances of getting decay is very high.
How can you keep enjoying sweet foods and not lose your teeth?
We live in the real world. Sweet foods and chocolates are part of our everyday lives and its unrealistic to suggest that we will just stop.
Added sugar is certainly a good way to kill your teeth. Many fizzy drinks contain over 12 spoonful of sugar and so should be avoided. Many food producers are now using sugar as a preservative and to optimize the taste of the food e.g. tomato ketchup. Always brush first thing in the morning and last thing at night using a fluoride toothpaste and if you have lots of fillings, use a fluoride based mouthwash.
Top tips to reduce dental decay
1) Cut down how many times you have sugary snacks, its frequency not quantity that worsens decay.
2) If you eat sugary food, consume them after a meal as your saliva defense is at its best and so will reduce the duration of the acid attack.
3) Chew sugar free gum after eating sugary food as this boosts saliva flow.
4) Check food and drink labels and always choose the sugar free option.
5) If you have a sweet tooth, try artificial sweeteners and always choose sugar free mints or cough sweet alternatives.