A question like this sounds too easy. Of course sugar is bad for your teeth! Why else would dentists recommend sugar free products sweetened with xylitol, or frown at us when we describe our constant candy cravings?
Or did we just imagine all that? We asked Dr. Lowe what he thought about sugar, and the answer was genuinely surprising!
It’s true. Sugar itself does nothing do harm our teeth. What Dr. Lowe describes as truly harmful, is the pH balance in our mouth.
You see, the bacteria that lives on our teeth and gums is actually a living organism. Living organisms require food, and this bacteria happens to love sugar (I mean… who doesn’t?). When we have sugar in our mouth, the bacteria is able to digest the sugar, and convert it into a waste product that is highly acidic.
It’s this acid that eats through our teeth, giving us cavities, and wearing down our enamel. This is a big reason why it is so important to brush our teeth, and floss regularly. Removing bacteria, limits the levels of acidity in our mouths. Scheduling regular trips to the hygienist can also help to clean in areas that are more difficult to reach (such as under the gumline).
If we do decide to eat sugar, it’s not necessarily how much sugar we eat, but how long it stays in our mouth. This is why Dr. Lowe warns us against constant snacking. A big slice of cake with sugary frosting will hurt our teeth less than eating a few candies between meals.
Now please excuse me, I have some enormous desserts to shop for.