How Sugar Affects Your Teeth
You probably already know that sugar is bad for your teeth, but do you know why? Understanding how sugar interacts with your mouth can help you take better care of your teeth and make healthier choices about what to eat. Here’s what you should know about sugar and cavities.
Bacteria that live in your mouth feed off the sugars and starches you consume. They then excrete acids that damage and weaken the shiny, protective layer of your teeth called the enamel.
If left unchecked, the bacteria will eventually create cavities; holes in the teeth that go deeper than the enamel. Untreated cavities can lead to pain and eventually tooth loss.
Protection from cavities
Your mouth has a natural defense mechanism to fight cavities. It’s called remineralization, and the phosphates and calcium in your saliva play a key role. These minerals help reverse the damage from acids and strengthen your tooth enamel. Fluoride is another mineral that helps repair damaged enamel.
However, remineralization can only do so much. Your enamel will eventually wear away if you eat too much sugar and don’t take care of your teeth and gums.
Limiting sugar intake
One of the best things you can do to prevent tooth decay is to limit the amount of sugar you eat.
Canadians, on average, consume about 110 grams of sugar every day, according to the Canadian Sugar Institute. That’s 21 per cent of their total energy intake. The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends you should eat half that, 48 grams per day.
Hidden forms of sugar
Sugar sneaks into your diet in many hidden forms. It’s important to read labels and know how much sugar is in the foods you eat. It’s a good idea to limit or eliminate foods with:
• Corn syrup
• Carob syrup
• Evaporated cane juice
• Concentrated fruit juice
Besides eating less sugar, practise good oral hygiene to ward off the damage done by sugar-eating bacteria. Some healthy oral habits you should adopt include:
• Eating more vegetables and fruit
• Consume foods high in phosphates and calcium such as dairy products
• Brush your teeth regularly with a fluoride toothpaste
• Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow
• Get regular cleanings, fluoride treatments and checkups from your family dentist
Family dentistry in SE Calgary
At Forest Lawn Dental Centre we offer professional teeth cleaning and checkups for every member of your family. To make it convenient for you, we’re open until 7 p.m. on some weeknights and we also offer appointments on Saturdays. Contact us today to schedule your next dental exam and cleaning.
Forest Lawn Dental Centre
3617 - 17 Ave SE Calgary, AlbertaT2A 0R8