Sweet soft drinks and lots of sugar increase the risk of dental cavities. Most of us are aware that sweets and other sugary food and drinks increase the risk of tooth decay but research at Aarhus University in Denmark has shown they can also increase the risk of gum (periodontal) disease.
The results were obtained in connection with a critical review of the literature over the past 50 years, and have just been published in the international scientific journal, Journal of Oral Microbiology.
Dr Bente Nyvad of the University said: “Sugar hasn’t traditionally been associated with the development of periodontal diseases. It’s true that back in the 1970s two American researchers suggested that a diet which was high in carbohydrates could be a common risk factor for both dental diseases and inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, but this knowledge was largely forgotten again. Today, there is general agreement that the above-mentioned diseases are associated with a high sugar intake. However, a hypothesis that could link and explain the two major dental diseases, caries and periodontitis, has been lacking”.
The researchers arrived at a common hypothesis for the development of the two major dental diseases. The hypothesis is based on the biochemical processes that take place in the bacterial deposits on teeth when you add copious amounts of nutrients to the bacteria – particularly sugar.
“In other words, we revive the ‘forgotten’ hypothesis that sugar can promote both dental cavities and periodontal diseases,” says Bente Nyvad.