How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
We all know that sugar is a major culprit when it comes to causing cavities in our teeth, but do you know how it actually works?
Sugar is the Fuel
Sugar itself does not cause tooth decay, but rather it is the fuel for the bacteria that causes cavities. Here's how it works: When you eat a meal, plaque begins to build up on your teeth. If it isn't removed with brushing or flossing, bacteria begins to grow within the plaque. Sugar is the fuel for that bacteria to live and produce their byproduct, which is acid. It is the acid that eats away at tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Neutralizing the Acids
While some of the foods we eat contain sugar and contribute to tooth decay, there are also foods that actually neutralize the acids that cause tooth decay. Fruits and vegetables increase saliva flow, which helps to neutralize the acids and also wash away the debris that causes plaque. Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables is not only good for your body but also your oral health.
Be Aware of Hidden Sugars
You probably realize that beverages such as sodas or sports drinks contain a lot of sugar, but it's also important to be aware of hidden sugars in the foods and beverages you consume. Surprisingly, many of the products that are advertised as healthy often contain a lot of sugar. Some culprits to be aware of are:
- Marinara sauce
- Fruit juice and smoothies
- Salad dressings and condiments
- Yogurt containing fruit
Be sure to read the labels on the products you purchase at the grocery store so you can be aware of sugar content.
Dental Cleanings and Exams in Lafayette
If you have questions about your oral health or nutrition, your 70508 dentist has answers. Drs. Smith and Domingue are here for you, and we're happy to answer your questions at your next routine cleaning and checkup.