How does sugar rot your teeth?

False beliefs

If you have decay you need a filling

Tooth decay hurts

You can’t reverse tooth decay


Teeth and in particular enamel, is the hardest structure in our bodies and along with our eyes, is the only tissue that does not regenerate. The Dental team are in your corner trying to help you preserve your teeth. They can also help you improve your health and well-being. Not only do we need teeth in order to properly digest our food but your dental team are often the first to diagnose diseases that show their first signs in your mouth! Oral health has a critical relationship to your overall health. People with poor oral health face higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, complications in pregnancy and childbirth, and other conditions.

If you are Diabetic you may not know that Diabetes can harm the mouth, and problems in the mouth make it harder to control your diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar can cause swollen gums, which disrupts the mouth’s natural defences and makes cavities more likely. That’s why oral health care is even more important if you have diabetes.

Teeth decay when you eat sugars frequently. The bacteria in your mouth eat the carbohydrates you feed them and produce acid that dissolves (demineralises ) your teeth. Your tooth is in a constant state of mineralization and demineralization. Saliva neutralises this acid but, do it too often and defences are overcome and your tooth rots! In order to damage the tooth it needs multiple sugar attacks over a sustained period. Your dental team can spot early decay and help you reverse it by fluoride applications, sealants and helping you change your diet. Brushing and flossing is not enough to stop this disease- it is down to genetics and sugar. We cannot choose our genetics so let’s tackle the diet!

Tooth decay is the most chronic childhood disease and is entirely preventable, millions of the nation’s children go untreated. Dental decay is the number one reason why children aged five to nine are admitted to hospital in England. Children had almost 43,000 “completely preventable” NHS operations to remove rotting teeth in 2017. Every year in London around 8,000 children had rotten teeth removed at a cost of around £1.75m per year.

Find out just how much tooth decay in children costs the NHS each year here.

When a child’s oral health suffers, so does school performance, because children who are in pain cannot pay attention to teachers and parents.


Top tips

Do not overdo the sugar

Brush twice a day

Pay attention to changes in your mouth- bleeding or pain- see a dentist

Take children to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears.

Want to break the cycle? Take our 14 day sugar challenge to retrain your palate.

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