What Sugar Does to Your Teeth
From a young age, we’re told that sugar is bad for our teeth and causes tooth decay, but few people know exactly how sugar damages our teeth. It’s not the sugar itself that’s so bad; it’s what happens when the sugar meets the bacteria already in your mouth.
What Happens in Your Mouth When You Eat Sugar
When you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in your mouth eat the sugar and produce acid. Your mouth has many different bacteria, some good and some bad, but it’s the bad bacteria that digests the sugar to form a sticky substance that clings to your teeth, making it harder for saliva to wash it away. This sticky substance is acidic and starts to eat away your tooth enamel if you don’t remove it by regularly brushing your teeth.
Your teeth are under constant attack from the acids which remove important minerals from your tooth enamel. However, your saliva plays a bigger role than you thought because it contains calcium and phosphates which repair your tooth enamel. Eating too much sugar destroys this balance, and your saliva can’t keep up with the constant demineralisation of your teeth.
The constant acid attacks eventually weaken teeth and erode the tooth enamel which leads to dental cavities. If left untreated, a cavity will get bigger until it starts to spread further into the tooth, causing pain, sensitivity to heat and cold, and eventual loss of the tooth. All this is going on in your mouth on a larger scale, so it’s not just one tooth that’s affected; it can be many. This is why regular check-ups at your dentist are important to find early signs of tooth decay and treat it before it gets worse.
Good Dental Hygiene
Brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dentist all help to keep tooth decay under control and your teeth strong and healthy. Be sure to brush after every meal, especially if you’ve eaten anything with a lot of sugar. There are many new products available such as water flossers, interdental brushes and proxy brushes that help make the job easier and more fun.
Be Aware of the Sugar Content
To help your dental hygiene routine, be aware of the ingredients in what you eat and try to avoid food and drinks high in sugar. A lot of soft drinks also contain citric and phosphoric acid which also contributes to tooth decay, so read the labels carefully.
Dental Care – West Auckland
At Titirangi Dental, we provide caring, professional dental services for the whole family using the latest in dental equipment and technology. We’re dedicated to helping you maintain and improve your smile with a full range of general and cosmetic dentistry.