The Dangers of Sugar on Your Oral Health
Since no one I know loves getting their teeth drilled and filled, nor having to pay for crowns, bridges, root canals and oral surgery, let’s get clear about the role sugar and starches play in oral health issues.
We all know sugar causes cavities. No surprise there. We even clearly understand how this happens.
In a nutshell… within 20 seconds of carbohydrates entering the mouth, 2 forms of oral bacteria feed on the sugar and begin to form an acid that attacks the enamel of our teeth. The more sugar we eat, the more these not helpful bacteria proliferate in our mouths and the more damage they do.
Further, the more refined, concentrated and acidic the sweet food/drink, the more vulnerable our enamel. Tooth troublesome foods can even include healthy foods such as citrus fruit, sticky starches, and vegetables.
A mineral-rich/healthy diet and topical fluoride can help buffer the acid and strengthen the enamel. Brushing our teeth as soon as possible after eating carbs helps too. The best course of action, of course, is to avoid sugar.
What most of us do NOT know is how refined carbs also create gingivitis, gum disease and tooth loss.
In fact, the more sugar we eat, the more likely we are to lose teeth. And we are not just talking about one or two teeth, but five or six teeth!
Here is a research study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, March 2017:
“…one study involving more than 20,000 adults showed that just one occasional sugary drink resulted in a 44% increase in the risk of losing 1–5 teeth, compared to those who did not drink any sugary drinks.”
The article quoting this study goes on to say:
"...This means that drinking a sugary drink more than twice daily nearly triples your risk of losing more than six teeth.” Source: (1)
Let’s go over that again… And I quote:
Just one occasional sugary drink can nearly double your likelihood of losing 1-5 teeth in your lifetime.
Drinking 2 sugary drinks a day can triple your risk of losing 6 or more teeth!
That’s not just painful, it is expensive!
Now you might ask, how does sugar/starches make our teeth fall out?
Here is a quote from the University of Tennessee Medical Center published June 8, 2021, that shows how sugar leads to tooth loss:
“Along with creating enamel-eating acids, sugar attracts the tiny bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease. These diseases can cause your gums to recede away from your teeth and destroy the protective tissues that hold your teeth into place.” Source: (1)
Please, for the love of your teeth, keep sugar out of your mouth. And if you eat sweet/starchy whole foods be sure to brush your teeth as soon as possible.
The damage done to our teeth, gums and oral microbiome is slow to show and can be permanent and irreversible.
If you plan to smile with strong healthy teeth as you age, give sugar and refined starches the heave-ho.
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