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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Article Home Diet and Fitness Snacking on Sugary Foods and Dental Care

Snacking on Sugary Foods and Dental Care

Sugary foods leading to dental caries, how to avoid

Snacking on Sugary Foods and Dental Care


How can snacking on sugary foods lead to tooth decay? How much is too much?

Tooth decay is a common problem encountered by almost everyone at some stage in their life. Well, it is most commonly seen in the pediatric age group. It comprises of a major sect of preventable illnesses which most of the time leaves a person with a deformity. The deformity may vary from the inability to chew food to a complete loss of the affected tooth. The changes caused by a dental caries is almost permanent. It is very essential to consider prevention as a priority than a cure.


Dental Caries

Dental caries or tooth decay is due to the presence of bacteria in the oral cavity. There are millions of bacteria of thousands of species at any moment in the mouth. These usually do not cause harm unless provoked. Damage to a tooth happens as an indirect effect rather than a direct infection by the bacteria. Tooth decay occurs due to acidic substances produced by these bacteria when they are fed with simple sugars. These bacteria feed on simple sugars like sucrose, fructose and other refined carbohydrates to form acidic by products. These acidic substances cause the decalcification of the enamel subsequently resulting in dentin damage to form cavities. Sometimes, some bacteria even aid in the decay process by releasing a few proteolytic enzymes which further worsens this damage.


How Much Sugar

Snacking on sugary foods and not maintaining hygiene is surely the cause for dental decay. Cutting down on sugar intake may not much attribute in prevention of dental caries. Though there is a definite amount of sugar per person allowed, it doesn't make any difference in prevention of dental decay. Considering the risk for other health conditions like heart diseases, obesity, stroke etc it is postulated that one adult can consume not more than 6 spoons of refined sugar per day in entirety. Even when one consumes less than that and do not wash or brush the teeth at night, dental caries is inevitable.

There is no upper or lower limit for sugar consumption in connection with dental caries. Every time one munches on those sweets, they need to wash the mouth or brush the teeth well to prevent caries.


Dental Damage Repair

Dental decay leads to permanent damage to the dentition which is difficult to salvage after it evolves. In cases where tooth can be saved, it can involve something which may not be as strong and healthy as a normal tooth. There are well developed treatment modalities like root canal treatment and ceramic fillings which although serve the purpose, are not real.

This is the reason why preventing any such damage is better than cure. When you ask a doctor on how much sugar is good for health, do not miss out on asking how to prevent caries after munching on those sweets.


Written by Dr. Raju A. T.