Dental: How does sugar damage our teeth?
Many different bacteria live in our mouth. Some are beneficial for our dental health, some are harmful. Studies show that harmful bacteria…
Why Does Sugar Make My Teeth Hurt?
How does sugar damage our teeth?
Many different bacteria live in our mouth. Some are beneficial for our dental health, some are harmful. Studies show that harmful bacteria in our mouths feed on sugar and produce acid when they encounter sugar. This acid destroys the minerals in the top layer of tooth enamel, which makes our teeth look shiny and protect them. This is called demineralization.
The good news is that our saliva is a regular and natural process that reverses this damage. This is also called re-mineralization. The calcium and phosphate in the saliva, the fluoride we get from the water and toothpastes help the tooth enamel to repair itself and regain the minerals lost after acid attacks and strengthen our teeth.
However, repeated acid attacks cause tooth enamel to lose its minerals and weaken over time, resulting in pits and cavities. If these cavities are not treated, they can go deeper into your teeth, show symptoms such as pain in the tooth, pain during chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold drinks, and cause tooth loss.
Sugar affects bad bacteria and lowers the pH of our mouth.
There are two bacteria called Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus in our mouth. These bacteria feed on the sugar we eat, forming a colorless sticky plaque on the upper surface of the tooth. If this plaque is not cleaned with saliva or brushing, it is converted into acid by bacteria and an acidic environment is created in our mouth.
When the pH of our mouth drops below the neutral 7, these acids begin to dissolve the minerals in the teeth and damage the enamel. In the first place, they cause small holes or tooth erosion, and in the long run, they create caries.
Eating habits that cause cavities
High sugar snacks
Studies prove that frequent consumption of sugary snacks and sugary drinks causes cavities. Research on children shows that those who consume sweet cookies, chocolate and chips have four times more cavities than those who do not.
Consuming sugary and acidic beverages
The most well-known liquid sugar-containing products are; carbonated drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices. In addition to containing sugar, these products also contain high levels of acid. Studies have shown that those who drink 1-2 sugary drinks a day have a 31% higher incidence of dental caries. Another study of 20,000 adults showed that those who consumed a sugary drink a day had a 44% higher rate of losing their teeth than those who did not.
Consuming sugary drinks for a long time by sipping
How we consume sugary drinks also affects the formation of caries. Drinks that we sip throughout the day increase the time the sugar stays in our mouths, thus increasing the formation of caries.
Eating sticky foods
Hard candies, melt-in-your-mouth candies or kids’ favorite lollipops can be called sticky foods. Because they stay in the mouth for a long time, they give bad bacteria plenty of time to digest this sugar and produce acid. As a result, we prolong the demineralization time, shorten the re-mineralization time and cause more damage to our teeth.
Tips for fighting tooth decay
Below are some easy but effective suggestions we’ve compiled for you.
Pay more attention to what you eat and drink: You can consume fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products, cereal products. These foods will increase saliva production. Drinking beverages with a straw will reduce the contact of sugar with your teeth and will provide less damage to your teeth.
Cut down on sugar: Reduce your consumption of sugary foods whenever possible. You can clean your teeth by drinking water after sugar consumption. Take care not to drink sugary drinks in sips, so you will shorten the duration of the effect.
Take care of oral hygiene: Brushing your teeth twice a day is the most beneficial method to prevent cavities. If possible, try to brush your teeth after every meal. Chewing sugar-free gum is also beneficial for your dental health, as it will increase saliva secretion in the mouth.
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Very nice advice