Sugar and its Effects on Dental Health

Frau mit Schokolade im Mund

There are sets of perfectly healthy teeth that still exist from many thousands of years ago. The people of ancient civilizations had such good dental health because artificial sugars did not exist during their time on Earth. Unfortunately in modern times it is difficult to buy food products that do not contain artificial sugars.

Sugar’s primary effect on dental health is severe tooth decay. Sugar acts as an acid in the mouth. It attacks the natural protective layer of enamel that is found on human teeth. These acid attacks last about twenty minutes after consuming the sugary food. The bacteria in the human mouth works in tandem with sugar to multiply and cling to teeth. Over time, his results in significant plaque that destroys enamel by creating small holes called cavities. One’s dental health will suffer if the cavities are left untreated because they will grow larger over time. It is wise to schedule a dental visit at least once per year in order to make sure that no cavities have formed.

The manner in which one consumes sugar determines its impact on teeth. Liquid sugar in covers the whole mouth, soaking entire teeth with a coating. This coating is difficult to clean through regular brushing. Sugar consumed through foods leave larger layers of residue on teeth that are more concentrated than liquid sugars but just as dangerous.

Aside from attacking tooth enamel, sugar can erode teeth to the point that changes how one bites as it can reduce the size of upper and lower teeth. Teeth in the back of the mouth are especially vulnerable as they are smaller. Their size can be reduced through sugar induced decay. They may eventually fall out or have to be removed. Excessive sugar consumption can also lead to the need for dental implants and gum surgeries.

There are ways to fight tooth erosion aside from merely cutting artificial sugar out of one’s diet. Once can brush, floss, rinse with mouthwash and have a professional cleaning during a yearly dental visit.

It is prudent to be careful when feeding sugars to infants as they can develop tooth decay if given bottles with liquids containing fermentable carbohydrates. This includes juices and milk. The result is often what is referred to as “early childhood tooth decay”. This causes premature loss of baby teeth, crooked permanent teeth and even difficulties with speech. It can be prevented by not giving a baby a bottle when put to bed. If the baby is already in the habit of a bedtime bottle then it should be filled with only water.

The average American eats his own weight in sugar each year. This is a drastic change from the early 1900s when the average person ate around fifteen pounds of sugar per year. Sugar has no nutritional benefit as it is created through the processing of sugar cane that eliminates vitamins and minerals. Consuming sugar is the equivalent of applying a deleterious acid to one’s teeth.