If we could have our wish for 2019, it would be that all our patients would eat less sugar. Sugar is the main driver for so many ills, and in the mouth, it is the fuel for plaque, the bacteria that leads to gum disease and tooth decay.
You might think it would be the other way around and we’d be handing out free chocolate eggs in the run-up to the spring festivities, but here at Harley Street Dental Clinic, our mantra is ‘teeth for life’.
Sugar and plaque and the dental clinic in W1
Sugar is in almost everything we eat in 21st century Britain. Just take a look at the ingredients list on ready-made foods, or even low-fat foods. If you see anything that ends in -ose, it’s a sugar. Even so-called healthy sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup and coconut nectar are sugar. Put them in your mouth and the plaque bacteria will have a field day with them.
Some foods, such as dried fruits, even hold the sugar against your teeth when little bits get left behind after swallowing. This creates a kind of running buffet for the plaque bacteria there. This is why when parents give their children raisins and sultanas as a snack instead of sweets, they are not really doing them any favours at all. Any child who eats dried fruits as a snack should rinse well with plain water afterwards.
Sugar feeds plaque, which then goes into full-on reproduction mode, building up those furry layers you can feel on your teeth as the day goes by. As well as not feeling great inside your mouth, plaque gives off corrosive acids that attack your tooth enamel and your gums.
Back to that mantra of ours
We want you to have your teeth for as long as possible, even though there is more business mileage for us in people with bad teeth. As dentists, we need to make a living, it’s true, but we’d rather make it out of finding ways for you to hang onto your teeth. So turn up for your check-ups and deep cleans at your dental clinic in W1, and cut down on sugar in the meantime.