Thousands of bacteria live in your mouth. Most of them are harmless, but unfortunately, some are harmful and they can cause tooth decay. Their food source is sugar, so if you put lots of sugar in your mouth, these bacteria will cause tooth decay.
In this post, we’ll discuss bacteria, sugar and tooth decay in more detail. By the end, you’ll know how to prevent tooth decay and also what foods are high in sugar.
What causes tooth decay?
As we mentioned, many species of bacteria live in your mouth, but only a few species actually do any harm. The main harmful species are Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus, Actinomyces and Nocardia. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of them before – the only thing you need to know is that these bacteria can harm your teeth. They do this by feeding on sugar, which they turn into lactic acid. It’s this acid that erodes your enamel.
How can I prevent tooth decay?
One of the best things you can do to prevent tooth decay is to limit the amount of sugar you eat. Sugar is the food that feeds the bacteria in your mouth, so the less sugar you eat, the better.
However, it’s not just about the amount of sugar you eat; It’s also important to think about how often you eat sugar as well. For example, if you eat an entire packet of sweets in one go, you might feel a bit sick afterwards but it’s actually not too bad for your teeth. You’re only putting your teeth under one single sugar attack. What would be worse for your teeth is if you ate the same packet of sweets slowly over the whole day. If you did that, then you would be bathing your teeth in sugar throughout the whole day, and that long exposure to sugar would be much more likely to cause tooth decay.
So, it’s not only important to limit the amount of sugar you eat, but also how often you eat sugar as well. Try to eat sugar only at mealtimes – this way, the number of sugar attacks will be lower than if eat sugar throughout the whole day.
And of course, avoiding sugar is just one of the things you should do to prevent tooth decay. Other things you can do is brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and see a dentist for regular checkups.
What foods are high in sugar?
There are many obvious foods that are high in sugar, such as sweets, fizzy drinks, biscuits, cakes and chocolates. Many foods are high in sugar but aren’t so obvious. For example, did you know that ready meals are usually high in sugar? Another hidden source of sugar is alcohol – a bottle of beer can sometimes contain more than 20 g of sugar.
To learn how much sugar a food or drink contains, read the packet, as the nutritional information will tell you exactly how much sugar there is inside.
You can also visit https://nutritiondata.self.com/, which is a website that will tell you roughly how much sugar there is in most types of foods.