Kids hear it all the time. Don't eat too much candy or you will get a cavity. For most kids, the warnings about eating too much sugar don't sink in.
They may hear the words, but that does not mean they understand what sugar does to the teeth to create the cavities. Learning why sugar is dangerous may help children and adults do better at avoiding all the sugar that hurts their teeth.
In order to understand how sugars attack enamel, you have to understand what enamel is and what it does. The enamel is a thin, protective layer on the teeth. It is the hardest surface in the entire body and is the result of minerals building up. There are many things that you do that will erode the enamel away.
Brushing teeth and eating acidic foods are just two of the things that affect the enamel. Under normal circumstances the minerals in the body can replace the mineral lost due to enamel erosion. Trouble does not start until there is more erosion than replacement.
The Role of Sugar in Enamel Erosion
There are many foods that will erode the enamel on the teeth. Some foods and actions are more dangerous to the enamel than others. Sugar is one of the things that can cause the enamel to erode faster.
It is not the sugar that erodes the enamel. It is what the sugars create that causes the damage to the enamel. Sugars will adhere to the teeth. They provide a breeding ground for the bacteria that can build up on the teeth. The bacteria will form plaque which will eat away at the enamel.
Sugar also lowers the pH levels in the mouth. This makes the mouth more acidic. When the pH goes below a certain level, the acids in the mouth can eat away at the enamel.
The solution to the problems of sugar is twofold. The first is to limit the amount of sugar in your diet. The second is through good oral hygiene habits.
For more information about this or any other oral health issue, contact our office to schedule an appointment.