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Sugar & Its Effect on Teeth - By Dr. Yen Tran

21st June 2021

We all are guilty of having that one small sugary treat every now and then, but what happens when you have multiple sugary snack breaks during the day?

Let’s start with what happens when we have ONE treat:

Plaque is the sticky substance formed on your teeth when you have not brushed. It is home to micro-organisms and bacteria which feed on sugar to multiply. When we introduce sugar into the mouth, the bacteria and sugar react to form acid, which attacks the outer layer of the tooth! This means the outer layer of the tooth is weakened and gets demineralised. However, saliva is an excellent buffer solution in the mouth, which helps neutralise the acid in the mouth whenever we have a sugary treat. This process does take some time to bring the mouth back into a healthy balance.

What happens when you continuously snack on sugar intermittently during the day?

While the saliva continuously tries to buffer the acid in the mouth, continuous attacks make it difficult to keep up with demand. Every time we consume sugar without the mouth being put back into a stable pH, the saliva takes longer each time to buffer the acid, which means the teeth are bathing in acid for a long time! Eventually the teeth become brittle and weak, and form holes in the teeth (this is when we need to place fillings in teeth!), and if left too late, the bacteria can infect the nerve which causes severe toothache!

These days, food labels can be quite deceptive. Keep an eye out on the hidden sugars in the ingredients label so you are not tricked! Our oral health therapist, Lauren, will take a deeper dive into this, and teach you commonly used replacements for the word “sugar.”

 How can I protect my teeth?

  • Limit snacking on sugary foods and drinks
  • Keep your water intake high
  • Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Clean in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes
  • Visit your dentist and oral health therapists every six months

Sugar and its effect on teeth

Come and see Dr. Yen today if you think you need a filling from eating too many sugary snacks and drinks!
Make an appointment online or phone (07) 4723 8100 to book your dental health visit today! Dr. Yen Tran

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