Just how bad is sugar for our teeth?

We all know that too much sugar is bad for our health but the addictive qualities that sugar has means that most people tend not to think about how damaging it is to their and their families health. But how damaging is sugar to our teeth and do we realise how much sugar is in the food and drink we eat?

What does sugar do to our teeth?

Everyone knows that eating too much sugar leads to tooth decay. However, it is not the sugar itself that directly causes the damage.

Your mouth contains a vast number of different types of bacteria, some beneficial and others harmful. The harmful bacteria, mainly Streptococcus mutans (NCBI), feed on the sugars you eat to create acids that destroy your tooth enamel. This results in cavities (Colgate).

Normally the mineral content in your teeth is replenished by the saliva in your mouth between meals. But, regular consumption of sugary food and drinks throughout the day sustains an acidic environment that the harmful bacteria favour and thrive in.

How much sugar is in the food and drink we love?

Orange Juice – 21.5g
Cola – 35g
Fruit and Veggie Smoothie – 42g
Sports drink – 44g
Squash – 50g
Energy drink – 55g
Tomato soup – 9.2g
Baked Beans – 19.6g
Kit Kat – 47.8g
Liquorice Allsorts – 61.9g
Mars Bar – 68.1g

Sources – BDA, Daily Mail, Oral Health Foundation

How much of an issue is sugar addiction?

The Independent report that in England and Wales 170 children and teenagers a day are having operations in NHS hospitals to remove multiple teeth that have been rotted by sugar.

The takeaway here is to limit the consumption of sugar in your family’s diet and allow your mouth to time to replenish lost minerals and recover from the acidic environment.

The Government will be introducing a sugar tax in April 2018, which has already lead to manufactures reducing the sugar content in their products. However, even with this occurring we still need to be more cautious of how much sugar we intake.

Sugar VS Alcohol

Another consumable to watch out for would be alcohol intake. Take a look here at our Effects of Alcohol on Teeth Blog to learn more.

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