Is the statement “sugar causes cavities” true? Or is it just something that people say to scare their kids away from the Halloween candy? Is sugar the reason that dentists encourage people to brush their teeth more around this period of the year? This time of year is a perfect time to answer these questions since we just had Halloween, which means candy, and after this, we will have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Valentines. Many of these holidays involve large amounts of sugary sweets. We are going to answer these questions in this blog.
A cavity is a hole in your tooth and is where the enamel of your tooth has broken and allowed decay to attack your tooth. This decay is caused by plaque, which is a sticky bacteria that is created during digestion, building upon your tooth. If the plaque is left on the tooth for a long period of time, it will start to cause decay on your teeth and this forms a cavity. If the cavity goes untreated, it can bore all the way through the tooth and expose nerve endings, which is extremely painful. This is why a root canal is needed in many cases. If the cavity is able to grow long enough, it can even result in loss of the tooth.
Sugar does not cause cavities! That may seem shocking, but it is true. Bacteria is the cause of cavities, but digesting sugar creates bacteria. If the bacteria isn’t cleaned away from your teeth and gums, it will create cavities and gum disease. When we eat, our body creates acids to help us digest our food, this is a good thing. However this acid removes the minerals from our teeth, but when you brush your teeth this will be reversed. Our saliva also aids in protecting your teeth from bacteria. So basically what we are saying is it is okay if you have some sweets, but the key is to brush your teeth afterword’s to prevent bacteria from eating at your teeth!
To prevent cavities, you don’t have to give up all sugar (although cutting back usually isn’t a bad thing) but taking good care of your teeth is vital. Brushing regularly, flossing, and using mouthwash all will add up to keeping your teeth clean and preventing cavities. It is possible to still get cavities, however, and some people’s teeth are much more prone to than others. This is why visiting the dentist is important even if you have good oral hygiene habits.