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How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

Since you were a young kid, you’ve heard the adults tell you to limit your consumption of sugary treats. They reasoned out that food laden with sugar can lead to tooth decay, or even worse, tooth loss.

“How does sugar cause tooth decay?” you might ask.

It’s actually not the sugar in food

Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not exactly sugar itself that causes tooth decay and other dental problems.

Sugar is just one of the major factors involved in a series of events that occur after eating sugary and starchy food.

A glimpse into your mouth’s eco-system

Much as you would like to believe that your mouth is clean and free from bacteria, the truth is that it is home to hundreds of bacteria.

Now, some of these bacteria may be harmful, but there are also beneficial bacteria that can be found inside your mouth.

When you consume food rich in sugar, you are essentially feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Some of the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and then release acids.

In turn, these acids corrode the teeth’s enamel, the protective layer of the tooth. Over time, these acids can create a hole in your teeth. Left unchecked, these holes can go to the deeper layers of the teeth which lead to toothaches and even tooth loss.

Little helpers inside your mouth

Your teeth are constantly bombarded by acids that corrode the enamel. But your teeth are not defenseless.

The acids in your mouth remove minerals from the enamel through a process known as demineralization.

But another key process takes place inside your mouth: remineralization. In this process, the minerals leeched away from the teeth’s enamel are replaced and the teeth are strengthened.

Your saliva plays a crucial role in this process, providing the teeth with minerals like calcium and phosphate. These minerals help repair the teeth.

Your teeth need your help

However, the saliva can only do so much. When you eat too much sugary and starchy food, your teeth has little time to repair themselves.

This is why it is crucial to limit your intake of treats laden with sugars and starch.

But apart from limiting your consumption of sugars and starches, a Prescott, AZ dentist says there are a few other things that you can do to protect your teeth against cavities.

For one, you should add more fruits and veggies to your diet. These facilitate the production of more saliva. Dairy products, on the other hand, are rich in the minerals that help strengthen the teeth. Drinking green and black teas can also control the population of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Dentists also recommend drinking fluoridated water and brushing the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse it during the early stages. Schedule an appointment with our doctors today!


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