Sugar alone doesn’t harm your teeth, but when you eat or drink something containing sugar, so does bacteria inside in your mouth. This is what leads to tooth decay, gum disease and related oral health problems.
Did You Know?
More than 90% of Australians experience tooth decay at some time in their lives. It’s the most common chronic disease among children and a leading cause of tooth loss.
Tooth decay happens when bacteria feast on sugar in the mouth and release acids as a by-product. These acids dissolve tooth enamel, which can expose the softer, yellow-coloured dentine layer beneath or form cavities that expose the inner tooth to infection.
Symptoms of tooth decay can include:
- light or dark bands on the teeth
- tooth pain when biting down
- increased sensitivity to temperature
Teeth that already have cavities may be treated with a tooth coloured fillings. If decay reaches to the soft centre of the tooth, you may need a root canal treatment. Teeth that are severely decayed may have to be extracted to protect your other teeth. In other words, this is a preventative measure.
Above all, it is important that you schedule your regular check-up and cleans to avoid early signs of tooth decay.
How to protect your teeth from sugar
You don’t have to give up all your favourite treats to be healthy, as long as you follow good oral hygiene and take other steps to protect your teeth. This includes:
Reading the labels
Food and drink labels tell you roughly how much sugar is included in each serving.
The less time your teeth are in contact with sugar, the better. Avoid holding drinks in your mouth for longer than necessary and use straws to bypass the front of teeth.
Regular brushing and flossing
Brushing twice a day helps to remove leftover sugar and reduce plaque on your teeth. You should also floss daily to clean the areas your toothbrush doesn’t reach.
Visiting the dentist
Seeing a dentist twice a year for a comprehensive check-up and clean improves your chances of spotting tooth decay and gum disease before they cause damage and preventing problems from developing in the first place.
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