Everyone knows eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but few are aware of exactly how that happens. It’s not the sugar itself that does the damage, but rather what happens after you eat or drink your sugary treats.
Certain harmful oral bacteria actually feed on the sugars you eat to create acids that destroy the tooth enamel (which is the shiny, protective outer layer of the tooth). Cavities are a bacterial infection created by acids, which cause your teeth to form holes in them. Without treatment, cavities can progress past the enamel and into the deeper layers of the tooth, which can cause pain and if the damage goes too far, tooth extraction. Luckily saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphates to help repair the teeth. Fluoride is another mineral that helps repair weakened enamel. However, If you are eating lots of sweets and starches throughout the day these minerals can only do so much to prevent the effects of sugar on your teeth. Limiting your sugar intake is vital if you want to give your mouth a fighting chance to fix the damage!
Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.