What is the link between sugar and cavities?
The answer to this question is certainly “yes”. The connection between sugar-containing foods or sugar-containing beverages and tooth decay is a sure fact. Dental caries appear when the acid in the mouth attacks the enamel and the dentine (two layers of the teeth). The acid is a result of the bacteria that is found in the plaque – a sticky film that forms over the teeth. When sugar is consumed, it interferes with the bacteria in the mouth and in this way the acid is formed. The acid dissolves the tooth enamel creating holes in the teeth (cavities). Bacteria uses the sugar as energy and release acid as a waste product, which destroys the tooth enamel.Sugar is like a magnet for bad bacteria. Cavities are the most common cause of teeth loss in young people.
Studies and findings out
Researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine discovered that sugar is the major cause for tooth decay, both in children and adults. A percentage between 60 and 90% of school-age children and 92% of adults in the US have been diagnosed with tooth decay. On the other hand, it has been discovered that in Nigeria only 2% of population experienced tooth decay (their diet contains almost no sugar).
Kids are the most exposed to cavities since we all know that they consume a lot of sugar. They should be supervised and encouraged to limit their sugar intake.
A report published in 2010 by the world Health Organization suggested that there is a need for a reduction in sugars intake to 5% of our energy intake. This is the equivalent 0f 7 teaspoons/cubes or 30 g sugar per day for an adult. The recommendation for children is 24g (children aged 5-11) and 19g (children aged 4-6).
Regarding beverages, in a large study in Finland it has been discovered that drinking 1-2 sugar-sweetened beverages a day was linked to 31% risk of cavities.
Another study done on more than 20000 adults showed that one occasional sugary drink resulted in a 44% increase in the risk of losing 1-5 teeth, compare to those who did not drink such drinks.
As a conclusion, keep in mind that sugar attracts harmful bacteria that destroy the tooth’s enamel and dentine, which can cause a cavity in the tooth. This is the reason you should do your best in order to avoid sugar-containing foods and beverages. In case you eat or drink products that contain sugar, rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth as soon as you have a toothbrush and a toothpaste nearby. If you need further information, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Arhiri We are here to help.