Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

Most of us have heard since we were young that if we each too much sugar, we will get cavities. Did our parents just tell us that to make us stop snacking on sweets? Since candy will always be a temptation for most people, it is important to understand the connection between sugar and cavities.

Cavities Defined

When plaque, a sticky bacteria that forms in the digestive process, builds up on a tooth, it causes decay. The decay can then cause a cavity. When left untreated, cavities can create a hole in the tooth, exposing nerve endings, which can cause extreme pain. It may result in tooth loss or the need for a root canal.

Sugar & Cavities

Sugar itself does not cause cavities. Bacteria causes cavities, but sugar digestion creates bacteria. This can lead to cavities as well as gum disease and possibly tooth loss. Every time we eat, our bodies create acids that break down the food for proper digestion. The acids demineralize our teeth, but brushing our teeth, drinking fluoridated water, and even our own saliva helps to re-mineralize our teeth. In conclusion, it is okay to munch on sugary treats once in a while as long as proper care is taken afterward. 

Cavity Prevention

Preventing cavities does not require giving up sugar, but it does require good oral care. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily. Space out your indulgence by having your sweets with your meals rather than snacking throughout the day, especially before bed. Swish your mouth with water after snacking and hydrate wisely, avoiding sugary beverages. Use an elevated pH mouth rinse to neutralize the acidity in your mouth. You should brush your teeth after about 30 minutes, when the minerals have had a chance to redeposit on your enamel. 

Sleep & Sweets

Late-night snacks can be particularly threatening to tooth enamel. When we sleep, our mouths are usually drier than when we are awake. If you eat before bed, whether it be sugary sweets or a regular meal, you face the risk of your saliva not sufficiently rebalancing your mouth, so cavity-causing bacteria has room to thrive. Eat early enough to let your oral environment settle, no less than 30 minutes. 

Jacksonville Dental Care

At Jacksonville Dental Care, we believe that everyone deserves a bright, clean, natural-looking smile. At Jacksonville Dental Care we have helped many patients correct years of oral neglect in just one or two comfortable and stress-free dental appointments. Contact us today!