Wondering how does sugar cause cavities? Sugar itself is not the cause of dental cavities. However, in combination with poor dental hygiene it does produce cavities. The process of dental decay that causes cavities is a process that is progressive and not self-correcting.
How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
Another important fact is that it is the frequency that sugar and starches (which converts to sugar) are eaten not necessarily the amount of sugar you eat. This means it is better to eat an entire chocolate candy bar at once then rinse and brush your mouth than to eat small pieces of the candy bar over a couple hours.
What is the Acid-Attack Process?
The longer that your teeth are exposed to the sugar the greater the risk of bacteria in the mouth being able to digest that sugar and excrete the enamel attacking acids that cause cavities. In addition to that, sugar attracts the bad bacteria in your mouth.
The destructive bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and produce dental plaque. If the plaque is not removed by brushing, the mouth becomes more acidic and disrupts the pH level of the oral environment.
Repeated acid attacks on the tooth enamel causes mineral loss, weakening and destruction of the enamel and ultimately forms a cavity. Until the bacterial infection, that is the cavity, is removed the tooth continues to decay ultimately leading to a toothache and eventual tooth loss.
Does Tooth Decay Have a Kryptonite?
Yes! Dental decay’s kryptonite is xylitol! Xylitol is a natural sweetener extracted from plants. Along with preventing bacteria from sticking to your teeth, xylitol cannot be digested by the bacteria. No digestion equals no excreted acid. It also means bacteria can’t survive and reproduce.
Healthy teeth are maintained by lowering the bacterial load in your mouth so that there is less acid coming in contact with your tooth enamel. Using xylitol products can lower the number of bacteria colonies by 90%.
Xylitol also naturally increases saliva flow to wash away dental plaque in between brushing. Along with a good, consistent dental homecare routine and regular dental appointments, xylitol can be incorporated to interrupt the decay process.
Watching the amount of sugary drinks, you are sipping throughout the day will also inhibit the cycle of decay and destruction. This includes soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and juice. Sipping liquid sugar all day long is continually bathing your teeth with the very trigger needed for decay to start.
A study of 20,000 adults showed that even the occasional sugary drink resulted in a 44% increased risk of tooth loss. Drinking two sugary drinks a day triples your chance of losing more than six teeth over the period you are drinking them.
What’s Your Plan to Fight Decay?
Your dentist and hygienist can help customize a plan to win the bacterial battle in your mouth. In the meantime, lowering acid in your mouth by lowering bacteria in your mouth with good brushing and flossing habits along with decreasing sugar to starve the bacteria is the best start.
So, how does sugar cause cavities? Hopefully with the information above you can bring to understand just the effects that sugar has on your teeth. From cavities to wisdom teeth removal, professionals at My Time Dental Centers can help you with any inquiries you may have.