What Causes Tooth Decay: The Role Of Sugar

Although sugar is one of the first things that comes to mind when we talk about what causes tooth decay it is almost always for the wrong reasons. As I have already dispelled the myth that teeth decay from attacks on the exterior surface in another article, on what causes tooth decay, I won’t go into it here.

Nevertheless, even though tooth decay is, as I have pointed out, a result of a reversal of dentinal flow, sugar plays a major role in creating the mineral imbalance, which causes the reversal. Sugar in any form, be it fruit, honey, carbohydrate or refined has a dramatic effect, even in minute quantities.

I know that this is not good news for most of us, but the alternative of tooth decay and dental work is even less appealing. What is really quite remarkable is that this knowledge, which originated in the work of two prominent dentists and has been known for many decades, has been largely ignored.

We have been led to believe that sweets are OK as long as you brush and floss right away and regularly. Yet with all of the products and services sold for dental care people’s teeth continue to degenerate at an alarming pace. Go figure.

As I pointed out in the earlier article if the serum phosphorus level drops below 3.5 the dentinal flow reverses causing decay. Dr. Page a student of Dr. Weston Price, both historical figures in dentistry, in experiments conducted in the first half of the last century, found that sugar could reduce the phosphorus level.

This reduction of phosphorus blood levels, in turn produced an increase in calcium levels in the bloodstream. Yet the excess calcium could not be used by the body because of the imbalance with phosphorus and could even become toxic.

Dr. Page found that when he took his patients off of sugar and put them on a whole food diet not only did their dental woes begin to fade away, many other problems did likewise. He ran more than 2,000 blood chemistries to study the relationship between calcium and phosphorus levels and tooth decay.

He found that obtaining a 2.5 ratio of calcium to phosphorus would halt the resorption of bone. In other words, at that ratio cavities would not form. Further, he determined that maintaining a blood sugar level of 85, plus or minus 5, would sustain the necessary calcium to phosphorus ratio, all other things being equal.

The caveat here is that the patients were on diets providing the required levels of calcium, phosphorus and other necessary nutrients. Note that there is a plus or minus range for our optimum blood sugar level. Hence, sugar is not only an essential nutrient for our bodies, but also for our oral health.

Sugar is one of the body’s most important fuels and is the preferred source of energy for our brains and muscles. The problem is, these days, more than 50% of Americans consume 180 lbs per year compared to an average of 4 lbs per year in 1700.

Researchers have found sugar to be something like 4 times as addictive as cocaine. The historical rise in consumption supports this. The most deadly form, high fructose corn syrup made from GMO corn, is in just about every edible packaged product lining today’s chain grocery outlets.

Most people don’t have a clue as to how much sugar they consume every day. The addictive quality comes from the rush experienced consuming refined sugars including white flour due to the surge of glucose in the bloodstream as I explained in an article on whole grains.

Some suggestions to break free from this nutritional trap include only eating whole grains including the germ. Best to mill the kernels yourself. This is a complex carbohydrate requiring the body to work to break it down. This way our bodies get the required sugar without the addictive rush. I can’t recall ever hearing anyone say they were craving a slice of whole wheat bread.

In weaning myself from excess sugar I threw out refined and bought organic cane sugar. I then began displacing that with natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. I have all but eliminated sugar proper from my diet.

Then, what I found really helpful to cut way back on even natural sweeteners was, in a manner of speaking, tricking my body. As I lowered the amount of natural sweetener I increased spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, which my body associates with sweets. This works surprisingly well.

Another helpful, healthy measure was to eat a variety of fermented foods like kefir, sourdough and sauerkraut. As some of the names imply, these foods have an attractive sour tang to them, which, by the way, grows on you.