Have you ever wondered why sugar is bad for your teeth, or just how much sugar is bad for your teeth? TLC has got the answers this month.
How does sugar damage your teeth?
When you eat sugary food, the bacteria integral to your oral ecosystem will feed on the sugar and begin producing acids that destroy tooth enamel. Without enamel, your teeth have no protective outer layer – which means cavities can easily form, and gum disease can follow shortly after. That enamel-stripping process is called demineralisation. Yikes!
So what happens when you sustain too much sugar damage? Well, there are two main reasons to skip the sugary snacks this week… tooth decay and gum disease.
When you eat sugar, your mouth becomes a feeding ground for destructive bacteria found in plaque like streptococcus mutans and streptococcus sorbrinus. As noted above, these acids begin to wear down and decay the tooth. Tooth decay can lead to:
- Tooth abscesses
- Tooth infections
- Periodontal disease
Without proper care and attention, tooth decay and gum disease can require professional treatment and a fair few trips to the dentist.
We do love to see you, but not that much!
How can you avoid sugar?
Sugar is sneaky – you may think you don’t consume much of it if you just have a teaspoon in your coffee every day, but you could be seriously underestimating. Sugar can be added to just about everything – from jar sauces and soups to muesli and dried fruit. If your shopping list is mostly packaged or processed foods, it could be worth making a few small sustainable lifestyle changes.
Try some of the swaps below to save your smile. Consider switching:
- Flavoured yoghurt for Greek yoghurt
- Soft drink for kombucha or herbal teas
- Store-bought pasta sauce for homemade fresh tomato sauce
- Iced coffee/frappes for black coffee
- Ice cream for blended frozen banana ‘nice’ cream
- Store-bought mayonnaise for smashed avocado
- Processed dips for homemade hummus
- Sugary tortillas or bread rolls for rye and wholemeal options
- Processed salad dressing for homemade balsamic vinaigrette
- Most low-fat products for the full-fat variety (sugar is usually added instead of fat to retain flavour in the product!)
Do you need a sugar-related check-up?
TLC Dental can do a quick, easy check-up followed by a scale and clean with our hygienist. We’re located in five suburbs south of the river, including:
Kids and adults alike, we’re relied upon throughout Perth and Mandurah as an anxiety-friendly clinic. Open communication and safe, happy patients are our forte! Phone your local clinic above to book in for a check-up today.