How a sweet tooth can lead to unhealthy teeth
From sweets to cakes to chocolate puddings, everyone enjoys a bit of sugar. However, it’s important to understand how sugar affects our teeth. That way you can take the right steps to help keep them strong and healthy.
How sugar affects your teeth
Sugar is a known cause of tooth decay. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth can start to digest the sugar and produce acids. This can dissolve the protective minerals in your tooth enamel, and over time, lead to both tooth decay and then cavities. These bacteria can also turn sugars into a glue-like substance that helps hold the bacteria against the teeth, making it more difficult for saliva to wash away the acids naturally.
Shield your teeth with sugar acid protection
Sugar acid protection toothpastes, like Aquafresh All in One Protection, can help shield your teeth against this threat. Containing active fluoride that binds to your teeth’s enamel, this toothpaste can provide a defensive layer against sugar acid attacks. Fluoride also helps to draw new minerals into your teeth, leaving them stronger than before and at less risk of cavities.
Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste can be a big help. But remember that the foundation of a healthy mouth is following a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Spotting sugars in foods and drinks
It’s not just cakes and sweets that contain sugar. Many other foods can also have sugars you may not expect – ‘hidden sugars’. It’s important to check the ingredients, especially when it comes to children. Some common culprits of hidden sugars that may surprise you:
- Cooking sauces and soups
- Cereals and cereal bars
- Yoghurts and dips
- Ketchup and salad cream
- “No added sugar” juices and fizzy drinks
It’s easy to think foods that are marketed as ‘low-fat’ or ‘nutritious’ are healthy alternatives. But these foods often contain extra sugar to improve their taste and texture. Even naturally occurring sugars can be harmful to your teeth.
When you’re out shopping, it’s always best to check the label. If you’re not sure where to look, anything that ends in ‘-ose’ (such as glucose, sucrose, etc.) is often a sign of hidden sugars. And it’s always worth checking the section that’s called ‘carbohydrates as sugars’ as well.
Little sugary steps make a big difference
Making a few changes to your diet can help you cut back on the super sweet stuff. Like not adding sugar to coffee and tea. And balancing your carbohydrate intake with plenty of lean proteins and vegetables. Why not swap white bread and rice for whole grain or brown alternatives. And when sugar cravings strike, go for a piece of fruit or some plain yogurt rather than biscuits and puddings.
As a simple rule, the less sugar you eat, the lower your risk of cavities. Be on the lookout for obvious sugary foods and also ones you wouldn't suspect. And never forget the importance of that twice a day brush and a good daily floss.