Sugar and Dental Enamel

Sugar is known to be bad for our teeth, but the damage is preventable.

Taking a break from our regular ‘ask the dentist’ series, today’s blog takes a look at one of the basics of dental care; preventing the damage caused by sugar.

It is a long established fact that sugar is harmful to the teeth, creating acids that eat away at the enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay if care is not taken. Much of the problem can be avoided with preventative care though, and we cover that aspect a little later on in this blog.

Sensitive teeth

Some people have more sensitive teeth than others and this can sometimes be dismissed as ‘just one of those things’. The reality though is that you should take this as a potential warning sign that trouble may lie ahead unless you take better care of your teeth. It is always a good idea to have your teeth checked if you are experiencing any discomfort or problems as things are likely to become worse if you ignore it; often leading to more invasive treatment being needed eventually, or even tooth loss.

Many severe toothaches caused by decay, start with sugars in food (and this includes natural sugars such as are found in fruit) that stick to the enamel layer of the teeth. The enamel is the protective layer underneath which lies the dentin, a porous part of the tooth that covers the nerves in the root of the tooth. Once the enamel has worn away, your teeth will not only feel more sensitive, but it is very possible that decay has also started to occur. This is not something that will stop on its own and needs professional treatment at your local dentists to prevent its spread.

The most common method of treating tooth decay is a filling. This can either be a standard amalgam version or a modern, white cosmetic dental filling which offers reasonable strength but without the unsightly dark appearance. Where more extensive decay is present, a dental crown may be needed to restore the tooth to where it can withstand regular daily wear and tear.

Prevention

Genetically, it is likely that different people will have different thicknesses of enamel on their teeth. It should be remembered though that, once the enamel is worn, it will not re-appear and you are more likely to experience dental problems. The best option then, is to prevent the wearing of the enamel in the first instance, and this is not especially difficult to do if you follow simple guidelines.

●     Avoid sugar as much as possible, especially in drinks

●     Brush your teeth twice daily with a toothbrush no more than 3 months old and for at least 2 minutes each time

●     ALWAYS use a toothpaste with fluoride in it as this helps to strengthen the enamel

●     Floss your teeth. If you don’t know how to do this and need advice, our handy Wickford hygienist is always happy to help you.

●     Avoid drinking too much alcohol and definitely do not smoke

●     Keep regular appointments at the Cygnet Dental Practice, usually twice a year, so that we can monitor your teeth and gums.

With care, you can have healthy and strong teeth throughout your life. It only takes a few minutes each day; a few minutes that can save you from dental problems such as toothache and even lost teeth. If you have not had a check up for some time, why not act now by arranging an appointment at the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford by calling us on 01268 733078.