There are over 300 different types of bacteria in your mouth, some of these are good bacteria but some you really don’t want to leave in your mouth, the kind of bad bacteria that sugar attracts and creates plaque. Studies have shown that when some bacteria encounters sugar, it produces acid in your mouth, lowering the scale of Ph in your mouth. These acids are bad for your enamel (the protective layer of your tooth), they remove minerals from the enamel - this is called demineralization. The minerals in your saliva, such as calcium and phosphate, reverses this damage in a process called remineralization. BUT if you consume sugar over and over again, it can cause the Ph of the plaque to lower to 5.5 or under which then dissolves the mineral in the enamel, forming a cavity. A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by tooth decay and can even lead to tooth loss. Ekkk no one wants that!
What can help fight tooth decay?
Your dietary habits play a big part in demineralisation. You should avoid snacks with a high sugar content especially sticky foods such as lollies and candies that are designed to be sucked on. These sugary snacks are in your mouth for longer and gradually release sugar whilst you suck on them, this gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to envelop the sugar and produce more acids.
Sugary drinks should be avoided at all costs! Drinks such as fizzy drinks, sports drinks, juices and energy drinks are extremely high sugar and also contain high levels of acids that play a big role in tooth decay, in fact they drinking these sugary drinks will increase your risk of developing cavities by 31% with a 44% chance of losing 1 to 5 teeth Ahhhhhh!
How to fight tooth decay!
Cut down on sugary snacks and drinks. Of course you can enjoy a treat and companies are starting to listen and offer reduced sugar options but just remember too much sugar can lead to tooth loss. If you are having a treat drink lots of water, water will help wash the sugar away so it doesn’t stick to your teeth as much. Another top tip if you are having an occasional soft drink is to use a straw as this will decrease the exposure of sugar to your teeth. And of course, make sure the packaging is recyclable or biodegradable, to look after the planet's health too.
You should eat a balanced diet, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains and dairy and meat (dairy and meat substitutes work just as well if you're vegan, like us). Raw fruit and vegetables will increase the saliva in your mouth which we all know by now is a natural way of remineralizing your teeth. Chewing gum will also make your mouth produce more saliva and remove food debris from between your teeth. Our chewing gum doesn’t contain any sugar, WIN WIN!
Last but not least, practicing good oral hygiene! You should brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent cavities and tooth decay. If you have eaten sugar and want to brush your teeth to avoid the buildup of plaque you should wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after you have consumed sugar. If you brush your teeth straight after eating you will be helping the acids that will still be present in your mouth to erode your teeth and weaken the enamel.