Fact or Fiction: Sugar Causes Cavities

Now that Halloween has passed, are you worried that the amount of candy you ate is going to cause cavities?  It could, but it probably won’t.  Sugar is not the direct cause of cavities.  What actually happens is that the bacteria in your mouth feeds off of the sugar and then changes it to acid.  It takes bacteria 20 seconds to convert sugars into acid and 30 minutes to wash away.  It is actually the acid that causes cavities.

Candy Will not Necessarily Cause Cavities

The reason why that Halloween candy probably isn’t going to cause cavities is that, hopefully, you brushed your teeth after eating it.  Brushing your teeth washes away the bacteria and sugar, thus leaving nothing to cause acid production.  Also, the saliva in your mouth washes away bacteria and sugar.  Finally, sugar from candy does not necessarily stick to your teeth.  More often, sugar from foods like bread stick to your teeth and that causes cavities.

Foods that Cause Cavities

The following is a list of foods that bacteria feed off of and cause acid production, which then leads to cavities:

  • Foods high in carbohydrates, like bread
  • Fruits
  • Juices
  • Sodas
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Potato chips

It is not just the actual foods that are causing cavities, it is the duration of time the food particles are in the mouth and stick to the teeth.

How to Prevent Cavities

Prevention is the best thing to do when it comes to the cavities battle.  To prevent cavities, eat less of the foods mentioned above.  Brush and floss after each meal, but not too aggressively because you can destroy the enamel on your teeth.  If you snack, brush and floss after each snack.  Finally, see your dentist for your regular dental check-ups.

Fact and Fiction

So, the answer to the question “Fact or Fiction?” is actually a “Fact and Fiction” answer.  Does sugar cause cavities?  Yes and no.  It is the actual conversion of sugar into acid that causes the cavities, but you need the actual simple sugars in the mouth to start the conversion.

Cavities are something that every parent tries to avoid with their children.  Feeding them healthy foods and staying away from the foods mentioned above is the best way to prevent cavities.  Teaching them to brush and floss after each meal is also necessary.  Finally, make going to the dentist fun for your children so that they look forward to seeing their dentist every time.

Call Edmond Dentist, Dr. Neely at (405) 302-0100 for an appointment.  We serve patients from Edmond OK and surrounding areas.

About monicaneelydds

Dr. Monica Neely, DDS is a practicing Dentist in Edmond, OK. Dr. Neely graduated from University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has been in practice for 24 years. She then completed Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency, a one-year post-graduate training in complex dental cases.

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