Dental News

Does Sugar Really Cause Cavities? The Answer May Surprise You

August 18, 2016

Does Sugar Really Cause Cavities? The Answer May Surprise You

This is one of the most commonly asked questions of many California dental practices: Does sugar cause cavities? Most patients assume the answer is yes. Why? Because they’ve heard it a million times. The real answer may just surprise you.

On its own sugar isn’t bad for your teeth

That’s right, sugar in and of itself isn’t bad for your teeth at all. However, when you combine sugar and bacteria then you’re looking at the possibility of some serious damage to your teeth. Every time you have a sugary treat, little bits of the sugar stick to your teeth. They can hide in the cracks and crevices, and while it doesn’t matter much on its own, the truth is that everyone’s mouth is also home to strep bacteria – and it lives in those same cracks and crevices.

In fact, strep bacteria’s favorite spot to hang out is in the plaque that builds up on your teeth. That bacteria then loves nothing more than to “eat” the sugar. That may sound good, because if the bacteria was really eating the sugar it would get it off the teeth, but what really happens is that the bacteria easts the sugar and then excretes acid – which cause the problems for your teeth.

Enamel may be hard but it’s not hard enough

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest mineral substance in your entire body. That said, it’s still very susceptible to being damaged by acids. Whenever these acids are in contact with your enamel for too long, the acid erodes the enamel, which results in tooth decay. Before long, cavities are everywhere.

How to protect your teeth against sugar and bacteria

The best defense is to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss on a regular basis, and get dental checkups twice a year. Those checkups should always include a professional dental cleaning. The truth is that sugar isn’t a problem in and of itself but the longer the sugar stays on your teeth, the longer the bacteria has to beat it – and the more acids can be produced.

This doesn’t mean you have to avoid sugar altogether. It simply means that you’ll want to both floss and brush after eating sweet foods. Remember that the sugars hide in nooks and crevices – which you can’t necessarily get to with brushing alone. That’s one of the reasons that flossing is so important.

Are you ready for your dental cleaning? Do you want to learn more simple tips for taking great care of your teeth? California Dental Group is here to help you! We offer several offices all over the Los Angeles area and we’re ready to see you! Be sure to ask about our ongoing special offers. We are here to help you achieve that smile you’ve always dreamed of.