What’s the Deal with Sugar and your Teeth?

It’s common knowledge at this point that processed sugars are bad for you and your teeth. We’ll let you in on a little secret… it’s not about sweetness.
Sugar doesn’t just enter your mouth and cause tooth decay in the way that it causes weight gain. Sugars harm lies in the role that it plays in tooth decay – it’s not a one-man machine.

How does it work?

For the record, when it comes to sugar’s effect in tooth decay, it’s not sugar itself that is doing the damage. Rather, it is a series of events that unfold.
The mouth is full of bacteria, many kinds of which are actually beneficial to a healthy mouth. That said there is certain bacteria that form together to become plaque and use sugar as a form of energy.
As the plaque is fed by the sugar, it creates more plaque, and then begins to grow in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria even turn the sugar into a gluey sort of substance that sticks to the tooth’s surface. By now the tooth is beginning to lose the war, and your saliva has less of a chance of washing away this harmful bacteria.
Know what happens next? Cavities form. The acid created from the process of bacteria and sugar meshing together creates holes in your teeth. Without treatment, your cavities can dig deeper into the tooth which is painful and will lead to tooth loss.

How do you stop this process from occurring?

As a result of all that bacteria in your mouth your mouth has actually developed a way to reverse negative effects; while acids damage the enamel through a process called “demineralization”, the process of “remineralization” strengthens the teeth back to fighting shape.
Your saliva is the main warrior in this battle. Saliva contains calcium and phosphates that repair your teeth. Fluoride is another key player.
However, when it comes to repairing all of that damage done to your enamel by bacteria and sugars, your natural fighting systems can only do so much. So if you are eating lots of sugar throughout the day your mouth has little chance of a fair fight.
It takes the bacteria only 10 minutes from the moment you eat sugar to start producing acid.

What can you do?

Limit your sugar intake first of all. Sweets and treats are perfectly okay to enjoy on occasion, but eating them all day long will not make your mouth happy.
Foods that trigger saliva flow are also helpful – sugarless gum, water-rich vegetables and fruits, and dairy products like cheese and yogurt all trigger saliva. Dairy products also contain lots of calcium that helps maintain strong teeth.
Make sure to brush every day using fluoride tooth paste, drink lots of water, and add regular dental visits into the mix and you’ll have yourself a healthy mouth!

Call Shen Dental at today at 604-566-7777 to schedule a Dental Exam and X-rays!


#102-3737 Oak Street, Vancouver BC





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