It’s a well-known fact that sugar is bad for your teeth; and that too excess eating of sugar. Even when Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, first found that sweet foods caused tooth decay, nobody believed him. However, as science progressed, it became certain that sugar can ruin your tooth. You must be wondering how sugar causes cavities destroys your teeth; nevertheless, sugar is not the culprit on its own. The chain of events that takes place afterwards is the main culprit. This article will give you detailed information on how sugar ruins your teeth and what can you do to prevent tooth decay.
Your Mouth – Battleground For Bacteria
Different types of bacteria are present in your mouth; however, only some bacteria benefit your dental health. When you digest sugar, the group of harmful bacteria produces acid, removing mineral from the tooth enamel. This removal of mineral from the protective, shiny and outer layer of your tooth is called demineralization. However, your saliva will help in reversing the damage, which is called remineralizations. The mineral such as calcium and phosphate in your saliva and fluoride from your toothpaste and water helps repair the enamel lost during the acid attack will strengthen your teeth. The continuous cycle of acid attack causes loss of mineral in the enamel, which with time will weaken and destroy the enamel to form the cavity.
The cavity is simply a hole in your teeth caused by tooth decay caused when harmful bacteria digest the sugar from your food to produce acids. When the cavity is left untreated, it can spread to deeper layers of your tooth, causing pain and tooth loss. Symptoms of tooth decay include pain while chewing, toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold or sweet foods and beverages. Still wondering how does sugar cause tooth decay, then keep reading to know more!
Sugar- The Magnet Of Bad Bacteria
Sugar is known for attracting bad bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus. Both these bacteria feed on the sugar and form the colorless, sticky film of dental plaque on your teeth surface. If this plaque doesn’t get washed away by brushing, then the environment in your mouth become acidic, and cavities will start forming. When the plaque’s pH inside your mouth is less than 5.5 or drops below normal, then the acidity of your mouth will start dissolving the mineral and destroying your tooth enamel. It will lead to the formation of erosion and small holes, which will become large with time.
How Dietary Habits Causes Tooth Decay?
Research has shown that certain food habits may be responsible for the formation of cavities.
- Eating High Sugar Snacks
Think before you eat sugary food. Studies have shown that frequent consumption of sugary foods and beverages leads to cavities. Can sugar ruin your teeth? Yes, frequently eating food rich in sugar will expose your teeth to various acid that causes tooth decay. Studies showed that children who snacked on cookies and sweets would likely develop cavities than children who don’t eat sugary foods.
- Drinking Sugary Beverages
We all know that sugar is bad for your teeth, so liquid sugar is its sports drinks, energy drinks, juices, and sugary soft drinks. These drinks have higher acid level apart from sugar which can cause tooth decay. Studies have shown that drinking 1 or 2 sugar-sweetened beverages in a day mean you have a higher risk of cavities, and your risk of losing more teeth triples. It is even found that you can decrease the risk of tooth decay by reducing the intake of sugar.
If you are continuously sipping on sugary beverages, then it’s high time you rethink about your this habit.
- Eating Sticky Foods
Sticky foods such as lollipops and hard candies provide you with long-lasting sugar sources, and they are even linked with tooth decaying. Since these foods are present in your mouth for a longer time, their sugar is released gradually, which gives bacteria in your mouth plenty of time to digest sugar to produce acid.
Starchy and processed foods like flavoured crackers and potato chips may present in your mouth for a long time and cause cavities.
How to Fight Tooth Decay?
Have you wondered what happens to teeth when you eat too much sugar? Indeed your teeth decay or cavities are formed, but how can you prevent the tooth decay. Below are some of the tips that can help in fighting tooth decay.
- See What You Eat And Drink
You should eat balanced diet food rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. You should eat the sweetened beverage or sugary food with your meal only instead of eating it between meals.
Use a straw while drinking sugary beverages as it will give your teeth less exposure to acid and sugar in your drink. Increase the flow of saliva in your mouth by adding raw fruits and vegetables into your meals. Moreover, don’t let the infant sleep with bottles that contain fruit juices, formula milk or sweetened liquids.
- Cut Sugar Intake
Remember to eat sticky and sugary food only occasionally. If you are eating or drinking sweet treats, you should drink tap water for rinsing out your mouth and dilute the sugar sticking on your tooth surface.
Don’t sip the soft drinks slowly over a longer period of time as then your teeth are exposed to acid and sugar attacks for a longer time.
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene
You should brush your teeth twice a day to prevent tooth decay and cavities. If possible, brush your teeth after each meal or before going to bed. Make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride as it helps in protecting your teeth. You should chew sugar-free gum to prevent the build-up of plaque by stimulating remineralizations and salvia production. Lastly, visit your dentist every six months to ensure keeping your teeth healthy.
If you know how sugar causes cavities anddestroys your teeth, then you prevent it from happening. When you eat sugary food and beverages, bacteria in your mouth break down to produce acid that can destroy enamel and results in tooth decay. To fight this, you need to reduce your intake of sugary foods, take good care of your teeth and follow a healthy lifestyle.