Why are the refined sugars so bad for your teeth?
In the natural form the sugars are found as glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, sacharose, starch, etc…in fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, etc…in low concentrations and blended with proteins and fats.
Because they are combined with other structures and they are in low concentrations they are digested and released slowly from the ingested food and consequently absorbed slowly into the blood stream through the intestinal wall. Because they are released slowly into the blood stream they continue to be in low concentration without causing a spike in blood sugar. The most important fact is that the digestion and release of the sugars does not start until they are in the intestinal tube. That means while in the mouth the sugars from fruits, meats, vegetables, grains are not released. This is very important to know.
Refined sugars are manufactured from the plants with higher content in sugars- sugar beet and sugar cane. Those plants are broken down and the sugars are extracted using selective solvents and then they are concentrated in a powder form. This is how they are then served at the table. Because it is in the refined form already its digestion starts in the mouth. This also very important to know. When in the mouth the refined sugars are broken down into acids by the fermenting bacteria. The acids attack the enamel layer by chelating calcium and this is how the cavities start. Refined sugars are the preferred food for the bacteria residing in the mouth. Once the food containing refined sugars are placed in the mouth, the existing bacteria multiply 3 times every 30 min and they create what is called plaque(accumulation of dead and alive germs, dead skin cells and the germ fighting cells that the body issues as defense). The plaque has a retentive quality meaning that it sticks to the tooth surface and makes more germs and cells and sugars stick to it. Because of this quality, after a while it is hard to remove and it keeps growing in size. Also, if not cleaned the plaque absorbs calcium and other electrolytes becoming hard(calculus) and impossible to remove by the patient with the floss or brush. The formation of calculus is very similar to the formation of the corals in the ocean. Initially the living organisms attach to the rocks, they attract salt and other electrolytes, become hard, die and the hardened surface of dead corals becomes a place where the new corals can attach and the cycle continues. This is how the calculus grows also. The real problem occurs when the growth of the calculus is not only horizontal, but vertical also, extending deeper and deeper under the gums and causing periodontitis(gum disease).
Conclusion: avoid refined sugars. They are not only bad for the teeth causing cavities and for the gums causing gum disease through the formation of plaques, but bad for your overall body by causing a spike in blood sugar followed by a reactive spike in insulin, followed by hypoglycemia which makes the person want more sugar and the cycle continues. The sugars from the fruit, vegetables, meats, etc… are more than enough for your nutrition.
For more questions or concerns please call my dental office in Washington Township NJ 08080, Sewell Dental Arts for a FREE CONSULTATION at 856-582-2220.