Does Sugar Really Cause Cavities?

What Is A Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in a tooth where tooth enamel has broken down due to decay. Decay is caused when plaque – a sticky bacteria that forms naturally in the digestive process – builds upon the tooth. When left for long periods of time, that plaque can cause decay, causing a cavity. Left untreated, a cavity can create a hole through the tooth and expose nerve endings creating significant pain. It can also create the need for a root canal or even result in tooth loss.

Does Sugar Actually Cause Cavities, or Is It A Myth?

No, sugar doesn’t cause cavities, bacteria cause cavities.  But, sugar digestion does create bacteria, which, if not properly brushed/cleaned, will lead to not just cavities but also gum disease and may even result in tooth loss. Whenever we eat food, acids are created by our body to break down the food to assist in digestion. These acids demineralize our teeth. Thankfully, our teeth are re-mineralized by brushing our teeth, drinking fluoridated water, and even our own saliva. So, the verdict is in; It’s ok to indulge in some sugary treats as long as you demonstrate proper oral hygiene.

Steps To Help Prevent Cavities

To prevent cavities, you don’t need to give up sugar, but you do need to stay on top of good oral care; especially after holidays like Halloween. For both kids and adults, Dr. Engelberg recommends the following:

  • Brushing Your Teeth Twice A Day (Especially before bed)
  • Flossing Once Per Day
  • Rinsing With Mouthwash (Helps remove bacteria missed from brushing and flossing)
  • Using Sugar-Free Gum Between Meals
  • Seeing Dr. Engelberg at least twice a year for routine professional cleanings and checkups

Encouraging children to eat less candy can help prevent cavities but also has other health benefits. Establishing good dental health practices in kids is a proactive way to help reduce future health concerns, including improved heart health, lower risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and more.

Schedule An Appointment

If you are experiencing sensitivity in your teeth, you may have a cavity, contact our Arlington Heights, IL dentist office today to learn more about how we can help. To make an appointment at AH Smiles, call 847.230.9703 or schedule an appointment online.