How much harmful is chocolate to your teeth

Candy and teeth

Chocolate Santas, gingerbread, speculoos, vanilla crescents, cinnamon stars, Hilda rolls, stollen, waffles with cinnamon and sugar, baked apples or roasted almonds from the Christmas market - the list of calorie and especially tooth sins could go on forever. As a dental team, we therefore want to raise awareness of how the Sweets on teeth create and give you on the way what you should look out for to prevent holes and tooth decay.


No tooth decay despite eating sweets

It is not only during the Christmas season that it is all the more difficult to refuse the sweet delicacies. Although we know from childhood that Sweets to our teeth Holes and toothache give us, it's hard to say no to the sweet temptation. A ban on sweets does not prevent painful tooth decay or inflammation of the gums: Sure, a balanced diet prevents holes and painful pulling in the teeth, but it is above all the way we snack on Affects your dental health.

It is less the amount of sweets than the frequency with which the treats are eaten. From the dentist's point of view, it would be better for your teeth if you (or your children) consume sticky candies and chocolate treats all at once. Because the more you eat sugary foods, the easier it is for tooth decay.


Sugar the number one tooth enemy?

The common belief that sugar is eating away at your teeth is simply wrong. It is more complex: Rather, it is bacteria that attack the carbohydrate sugar and convert it into acid. Those acids indirectly attack the tooth enamel. The pH value in the oral cavity drops and minerals such as calcium and phosphate are loosened from the tooth surface. As a result, the condition of the tooth enamel is changed: There is a loss of necessary, hard tooth substances, so that the tooth is no longer protected from external attacks and the caries-promoting bacteria have a free path. Even the saliva, which otherwise takes on the "neutralizing" task of rendering acids in the mouth harmless, can no longer sufficiently mineralize the tooth enamel during the constant "sugar attacks" (due to the regular consumption of sweets). In addition, when nibbling on sweets, less saliva is produced overall than when eating a real meal.


Under one roof: fruit, grapes and industrial sugar

The Sweets = tooth- Enemy number 1 mean, can be expanded: Because it is not only industrial sugar, but also glucose or fructose in fruit, which can be broken down quickly by the caries bacteria and offer a target. Since different terms are often used on the packaging than with sugar, you should keep your eyes peeled for ingredients such as sucrose (table sugar), glucose or glucose syrup (grape sugar) or maltose or malt extract (malt sugar) when you next go shopping.


Baby teeth are particularly at risk

The sweets and the accompanying acid formation are particularly dangerous for the milk teeth of children. Tooth enamel is many times more sensitive in children, harmful bacteria form much faster. In fact, tooth decay is so widespread among small children that the technical term “Early Childhood Caries” (ECC) was coined for it. Cause number one: sugary drinks from the feeding bottle. Whether it's sweet or not, infant formula and many children's foods hardly need to be chewed. However, pasty food promotes the build-up of dental plaque, since chewing does not cause the teeth to “clean” themselves naturally.


Sour and strength: the big sister of sweet

Sour (sweets) is, according to a study, tw. more harmful than sugary ones Sweets. teeth and tooth enamel are attacked even more. Starch also takes a toll on the bite and causes holes: Treats made from cooked starch, such as those found in potato chips, are said to promote tooth decay even more than conventional sugar. Like sugar, starch stuck to the teeth is converted to acid by plaque bacteria, which attack the enamel for the next 20 minutes or more.


The "worst" sweet sins for your teeth

In general: the sweeter, the worse. Particularly sticky sweets such as caramel, gummy bears or sweets can also do a lot of damage. They stubbornly adhere to the teeth and thus promote caries diseases. In addition, teeth need “breaks” between sugar meals. That means not eating chocolate over and over again throughout the day. Sweets that contain the sugar substitutes xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol instead of household, fruit or grape sugar are also a good alternative. These can hardly be broken down by the caries bacteria. Not only are they good for your figure, they are also easy on your teeth. The Zahnmännchen initiative, for example, has a list of such tooth-friendly sweets.

 

Of course, you should brush your teeth regularly. For example, the risk of tooth decay is reduced if the toothbrush is used immediately after consuming chocolate. However, this does not apply to acidic desserts: Wait about half an hour here before brushing your teeth, otherwise you will “brush away” the tooth enamel. After consuming such foods, first drink a glass of mineral water to neutralize it.


Prevention against tooth decay

Even if we brush our teeth regularly and practice daily dental care, sugary and acidic foods can damage the tooth enamel. In the interests of your own dental health, we therefore recommend annual or semi-annual prophylaxis. Make an appointment with Dr. Andreas Burkhardt, your dentist in Zurich!