While this article pertains to the US, this is still an interesting read in regards to how the increase in our exposure to sugars has caused an increase in tooth decay. As pointed out in this article…would we accept any other part of our body deteriorating like our teeth do or would we be more likely to attend to it…or better still…invest in prevention before it became an issue?
Starting with Teeth
Oral health begins with watching your sugar intake.
Everyone wants a beautiful smile. But despite the perfect teeth we see in movies, we’re actually facing a national epidemic in oral health. And as our grandmothers have told us, eating sweets really is the quickest way to get cavities.
Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in the United States: by age 11, 51% of children have had a cavity in their baby teeth and by age 65, 95% of adults have had decay in their permanent teeth. The World Health Organization has declared tooth decay and dental disease a major global concern. If any other body part decayed the way teeth do, would we really accept that as being okay?
The science clearly links dental caries (cavities) to repeated exposure to sugars.
Here’s what’s happening: Our mouths are naturally full of bacteria. When we bathe our teeth in sugars – particularly through sticky, sweet foods or drinking sweetened drinks throughout the day – the sugars feed the bacteria, which produce acids as a waste product. That acid slowly breaks down the tooth enamel, which forms a cavity. The more often the tooth is exposed to that acid, the worse it gets.
In some, that’s a life-or-death issue. In 2007, the dental community was horrified to hear about the 12-year-old boy in Maryland whose untreated toothache led to a bacterial infection in his brain and, ultimately, his death. Two years later, a 24-year-old father in Cincinnati also died from a tooth infection, because he couldn’t afford antibiotics to treat it.
What is most discouraging is that tooth decay is completely preventable, largely by making sure that you limit your teeth’s exposure to sugar throughout the day. It’s what our grandmothers told us. And in this case, they were absolutely right.