Dental Health Week in Australia runs from 2-8 August 2021. This is designed to bring awareness to dental hygiene and a reminder for us all to take good care of our teeth. Our teeth do such a good job of taking care of us by processing food, helping us to talk clearly, delivering our smiles and expressing our emotions. It’s only fair we spend time making sure our dental care is in check.
For Dental Health Week in 2021 we wanted to specifically highlight the dangers of sugar. Sugar is our teeths number one enemy and also has broader implications for overall health.
Why is sugar so bad for teeth?
We’re all told sugar is bad for our teeth from a young age, but why? In fact, sugar by itself could claim that it is an innocent party to the biological battleground going on inside our mouths.
Like it or not you have many types of bacteria in your mouth. Some are good, some are harmful. The more harmful bacteria produce acid when they digest sugar. The more sugar they have access to, the more acid they produce. This acid, if not removed, begins to remove the outer layer of the tooth enamel through a process known as demineralisation. This leads to significant tooth decay.
The good news is you have a few things to help fight bacteria and the acid they produce. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate which acts to reverse the demineralisation process. This, along with fluoride, found in Australia’s tap water and most toothpastes, acts to counteract the demineralisation process and subsequent decay.
Still, the more sugar you consume, the higher amounts of acid and the less effective your natural defences of saliva become. And, even brushing twice a day is not enough to combat the acidic environment in your mouth created from a diet high in sugar.
The benefits of drinking water
Given our bodies are made up of over 60% of it, water is essential for life. Water is also essential for the health of your teeth for the following reasons:
What is meant by a Sugar Tax?
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Omar Khorshid, fronted the National Press Club in June 2021 calling for a ‘sugar tax’ on sugary drinks. This tax is intended to reduce the consumption of drinks with high concentrations of sugar along with using tax revenue to fund projects such as the provision of water in remote communities and aid in funding more public dental health care.
The proposed tax is expected to not only reduce tooth decay but also reduce the cases of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. The tax is proposed to charge $0.40 per 100g of sugar on selected drinks which is forecast to deliver $814 million in revenue in Australia annually.
Time will tell if the sugar tax gains momentum but regardless of any tax we encourage everyone to reduce sugar intake for the sake of their teeth and their overall health.
How can you celebrate Dental Health Week?
The theme of Dental Health Week in 2021 is ‘Keep your Smile for Life’ meaning to keep on top of your oral health so you keep as many of your natural teeth for your entire life. Research from the Australian Dental Association shows that 68% of Australians go to the dentist for a dental problem while only 27% attend for a regular check-up. With dental health, prevention is far better than the cure. Having a regular dentist with 6 monthly check-ups will help avoid lengthy and costly dental procedures later down the road.
Dr Finkelstein Dentist in Sydney CBD supports Dental Health Week and can talk to you further about the impacts of sugar on your teeth. We definitely want to see you keep your smile for life and we welcome patients looking to establish a regular dentist. Make an appointment anytime or call us on 02 9262 7778