Why is sugar harmful to our teeth and do you know how much you really consume each day?
It has long been established that sugar is harmful for our teeth and this is something that our parents, and their parents before them understood. Many of us will have heard this from numerous sources and accept it without really understanding why.
We also probably consume far more sugar than we think we actually do. In today’s Synergy Clinic blog, we look in more depth at the problems surrounding sugar in the diet of our Addlestone dental patients.
Why is it harmful?
Sugar is bad for your teeth, but why?
Few people probably realise this, but it isn’t really the sugar that damages your teeth. Without it though, any damage would be far less. The reason for this is that sugar is not the active element that harms your teeth but is the fuel for that element, namely some types of oral bacteria.
There are thought to be over 700 strains of bacteria that are alive in our mouths at any given time, with up to 1 billion bacteria on each tooth if the mouth is not kept thoroughly clean. Even where good oral practice is carried out, there are thought to be up to 100,000 living on each tooth surface. Not all of these bacteria are harmful by any stretch, and some fulfil important roles in helping us to break down and digest our food.
These bacteria cannot survive in a void though and require fuel to be able to live. Have you guessed the fuel source yet? Correct; it is sugar. As the bacteria consume the sugar, they produce acids and it is this that damages the enamel on your teeth, eventually leading to cavities in the tooth. When this happens, you are likely to need an invasive dental procedure such as a filling or even a root canal treatment.
Where does the sugar come from?