You may have heard that phrase before and wondered what it means. In this article, I’ll let you know what fermentable carbohydrates are and how they can hurt your teeth.
What Are Fermentable Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are sugars and starches. They are a major source of energy for humans. When we something with sugar or starch, like white bread, the residues can stick around in our mouth. These carbohydrates are then broken down by the bacteria that live in our mouth through a process called fermentation.
So, fermentable carbohydrates are simply carbohydrates that can be broken down into acid by the plaque in our mouth.
How Fermentable Carbohydrates Hurt Your Teeth
Fermentable carbohydrates are broken down into acid. The acid can then dissolve your teeth until it is eventually rinsed away by your saliva. Luckily, our saliva can repair the damage by laying down new calcium to replace the tooth structure that was lost.
For more on this, read the article Keep Your Teeth Below Freezing.
What Contains Fermentable Carbohydrates?
Fermentable carbohydrates are found in anything that is sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or any one of 50 other names for sugar. Many of the starches that we eat are broken down into sugar in our mouth. If you take a bite of bread and chew on it long enough, you’ll notice that it begins to get sweet. This is because our spit has an enzyme called salivary amylase (ptyalin) that breaks down starch into sugar.
You might be interested in reading about the five sugars that hurt your teeth.
Fermentable carbohydrates are called fermentable because the bacteria (plaque) in our mouth can break them down into acids that ruin our teeth. Brushing and flossing our teeth daily can remove the bacteria from off of our teeth and limit the amount of fermentable carbohydrate that gets turned into tooth-dissolving acid.
If you have any questions or comments about fermentable carbohydrates, feel free to leave them below in the comments section.