Holistic Dentistry – how Sugar can affect your teeth.

Here at Channon Lawrence Dental we take a holistic approach to your oral health. That is, we have a firm belief the practice of dentistry is most effective for our patients when working with the body as a whole as opposed to treating the mouth in isolation. Along with an in-depth analysis of patient’s oral health, we review the function of your airways, breathing patterns, sleep behaviours, nutrition and general wellbeing. We will then work closely with your other health practitioners to care for you in a holistic sense.

You might be surprised to find out that sugar can have an impact on your oral health. Please read on for further information.

 SUGAR: How bad is it for you?


It is a common fact that sugary foods and drinks if left in the mouth increase the chances of tooth decay. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on your teeth, thrives on the sugars found in the everyday foods we eat. This is becoming a great problem today as sugar is found more commonly in foods than ever before, so often we are not even aware of the hidden sugar.

There are the obvious culprits such as lollies and soft drinks, however you need to also be aware of such foods as dried fruit and nuts, granola, nut or protein bars, chips, bread, fruit and vegetable juices and sports drinks. Lots of savoury and fast foods have added sugars.

As a nation, the general health of our population is in a very peculiar place. We’re eating more low fat food than previously, we’re joining more gyms and participating in more physical exercise yet on average we’re putting on more weight and generally becoming sicker. The reason for this is simple; despite all our efforts, sugar consumption still remains very high in our diets.

So, what are the issues we should be concerned with?


Sugary foods are easy to consume and triggers pleasure in the brain. These foods can produce both behavioural and brain changes that resemble addiction. In fact, recent studies have shown that the neural activity in the brain during sugar consumption is identical to the activity seen during some recreational drug use.


Sugar has many, many different names. One way in which sugars can be disguised in your food is by the use of long, scientific sounding words when reading the ingredients. If it ends in the suffix ‘-ose’ then it is a sugar. For example: sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose and so forth.

However, not all sugars in your foods have to end in ‘-ose’. The following ingredients are all sugar based:

Cane juice, dehydrated cane juice, cane juice solids, cane juice crystals, dextrin, maltodextrin, dextran, barley malt, beet sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, caramel, buttered syrup, carob syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, malt syrup, diatase, diatastic malt, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, dehydrated fruit juice, fruit juice crystals, golden syrup, turbinado, sorghum syrup, refiner’s syrup, ethyl maltol, maple syrup and yellow sugar.


Sugar in the form of fructose interferes with the hormone called leptin, which tells the body we have enough fat stored. Therefore, if this hormone is switched off it causes a powerful drive to keep eating. Eating large amounts of fructose makes the brain leptin resistant and leads to over eating. In addition to this, increased eating leads to insulin surges which drives the sugar into the cells and this has the effect of increasing your appetite and therefore you have increased fat storage which in turn leads to increased insulin levels. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you are interested in researching further, here are some suggested references.

Dr Andrew Well MD


Edith Coran, University of WA

Sarah Wilson – I Quit Sugar iquitsugar.com.au

To see holistic dentistry in practice or to find out more, please contact us today.



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