Is Sugar Sabotaging Your Teeth?
At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we believe that sugar is a silent killer that slowly damages your body and wrecks havoc on your oral health. In the modern era, most people cannot imagine consuming food that doesn’t include some amount of sugar since it enhances the taste of food unless they have an illness such as diabetes that restricts sugar in their diet.
Now, if you are wondering how exactly sugar sabotages your teeth and leads to dental problems such as cavities, tooth decay, and even gum diseases, don’t worry. In this article, we will discuss why sugar is bad for your teeth, how to avoid common sources of sugar and keep your teeth healthy.
The mouth is full of bacteria, some of which are good and some of which are bad. Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus are two types of bad bacteria present in the mouth that feed on the sugar present in food that you consume to produce acids that lead to the demineralization of the teeth.
These bacteria constantly form a sticky, colourless or yellow biofilm over the teeth’ surface (enamel) after you consume food and drinks. It is known as plaque and if it is not removed properly, it lowers the pH level inside your mouth to below 5.5. This is a highly acidic environment which dissolves minerals and destroys the tooth enamel. That is why you need to regularly brush your teeth to remove plaque if you want to protect your teeth.
Fortunately, your saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate which combine with fluoride present in toothpaste and water to repair (replace) the tooth enamel that was lost in the acid to strengthen your teeth. This process is known as remineralization.
The problem occurs when you constantly consume food that is high in sugar since it accelerates the process of demineralization to a point where the body cannot repair the damage. As a result, it leads to tooth decay, cavities, gum problems, and more.
Many people realize that the consumption of sugary food is bad for their oral health and try to limit their consumption of foods high in sugar. Unfortunately, they have no idea about the common sources of sugar and keep on consuming food high in sugar which continues to ruin their dental health.
Here are a few sources of sugar that you should remove from your diet:
1. Processed foods – Many people heavily consume processed foods due to the availability of such items at grocery stores, online marketplaces, and fast-food restaurants. In fact, many homemade dishes also contain a variety of processed ingredients including tinned vegetables, breakfast cereals, savoury snacks such as pies, pasties, crisps, sausage rolls, meat products such as ham, bacon, salami, ready meals, and more.
Unfortunately, processed foods are not only low in nutrient content but also abundant in fat, salt, and sugar. For instance, a bacon and cheese whopper can include 9 grams of sugar which form more than 30% of your recommended daily intake of sugar.
Low-fat yoghurt, chocolate milk, pre-made soup, and other such items are also high in sugar. That is why it is always recommended that you inspect food product labels for nutrition information and avoid those that are high in sugar content.
2. Sugary beverages – Many people avoid drinking soda and alcoholic beverages and consume fruit juices and sports drinks believing that they are less harmful to health. Unfortunately, sugary beverages such as fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, iced tea, flavoured coffee, and more include high amounts of sugar and acids that can increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay.
The same is true for smoothies, especially the ones you purchase from stores since they are high in sugar as well. Thus, these are not healthy to consume every day, especially for children. It is much healthier to consume fresh whole fruits if you want to include a healthy dose of antioxidants in your diet.
3. Sauces – Many cuisines of the world require the use of sauces and spice mixes to create suitable dishes and meals. Unfortunately, barbeque sauce, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, and more can include high amounts of sugar that you have no control over. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this since they don’t pay attention to the nutrient label.
4. Sticky foods and snacks – Sticky foods and snacks such as breath mints, tortilla chips, hard candies, flavoured crackers, granola, protein bars, lollipops, and more are some of the worst foods you can consume since these are lost-lasting sources of sugar.
Most people chew snacks and sticky foods for a long time to savour their taste. As a result, the harmful bacteria in the mouth have more time to work on the gradually released sugars and cause havoc on the teeth.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to avoid food and food products that are high in sugars and sugar-based ingredients such as rice syrup, maltodextrin, sucrose, sorbitol, molasses, and fructose.
Instead, the core of your diet should form fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and animal sources of protein. If you have to consume sugary foods, eat them occasionally with your meals and drink plenty of water.
And the most important habit is to maintain good oral hygiene so that you can maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Generally, it is recommended you brush your teeth at least twice a day and after consuming food to prevent the formation of plaque around your teeth. Additionally, ensure you visit your dentist every three months for an oral health checkup.
At Iqaluit Dental Clinic, we suggest you cut down on sugar to not only preserve your oral health and also improve your overall health. If you are addicted to the taste of sugar, it makes sense to cut down on sugar slowly and even try a few alternatives such as stevia, honey, erythritol, xylitol, and more.