Health Inspired Dentistry Blog

Sugar - the Only Cause of Tooth Decay Wednesday, 03 June 2015

We know that the excessive amount of sugar in western diets isn’t healthy, and now a study from the U.K. has identified sugar as the only cause of tooth decay in children and adults.

That finding implicates all the sugars in our diets, especially those added to food (including beverages) by manufacturers, as well as the sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. The researchers backed up their findings with epidemiology linking sugar consumption with tooth decay across the globe. For instance, during World War II, tooth decay was “hugely reduced” in Japan, but increased after the war when sugar could again be imported. The researchers also reported that only two percent of the people in Nigeria (whose diets contain negligible amounts of sugar) have tooth decay, compared to 92 percent of adults living in the United States.

Combatting tooth decay

To rein in this problem, the researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine recommended reducing the amount of sugar in the diet to less than three percent of total calories (that would work out to 60 calories on a 2000 calorie daily diet). Current guidelines from the World Health Organization set a maximum of 10 percent of total calories from sugar with a target of half that amount, five percent.

In addition to its unwelcome effect on teeth, sugar has a negative impact on health in general. Diets high in sugar may predispose some people, especially women, to yeast infections, may aggravate some kinds of arthritis and asthma and may raise triglyceride levels. In people genetically programmed to develop insulin resistance, high-sugar diets may drive obesity and high blood pressure and increase risks of developing type 2 diabetes.

Cutting sugar back to three percent of total calories is a tough goal, but it would have a considerable positive payoff for your teeth – and the rest of your body.

Attend our free special event “Kick the Sugar Habit” on July 8, 2015 from 7pm to 8pm to learn more. Call us at 440-446-9417 to reserve your spot.

Ann Kowalski, Certified Health Coach