Does sugar cause teeth cavities?

Sugar and tooth cavity

The harmful effects of sugar happen to be something that everyone is aware of. Right from our childhood days we have heard how having sugary drinks and savoring the candies eat away our pearly whites.

Many of us blame our unrelenting sweet tooth when we find a new cavity in our mouth every time we go for our bi-annual check-up.

While a sugary diet certainly promotes the formation of cavities together with other problems like obesity, it is not the sugar that is the real culprit behind the decaying of the teeth.

It is rather the chain of events that follow within the mouth that is responsible for the decay. The dental cavities which are also known as the “caries” (the Latin word for decay) are actually created when the leftovers of carbohydrates in the mouth after your consumption, are eaten up by the bacteria inhabiting your mouth.

How cavities develop in mouth?

Studies have revealed that the mouth is full of hundreds of bacteria and most of them are advantageous towards the oral ecosystem. Nevertheless, certain harmful bacteria actually feed on the sugar that you consume for creating the acids that destroy the enamel of the teeth. Enamel is the protective shiny layer of the teeth. But a hole is created on that layer by cavities that happen to be bacterial infection created by the acids. If you do not treat the cavities, they can advance through the enamel and reach within the deeper layers of the teeth. Cavities can progress without treatment and move into the deeper layers of the teeth giving rise to possible loss of teeth and teeth ache.

Bad bacteria are attracted by sugar and the mouth’s pH level is lowered

Sugar happens to be a magnet for harmful bacteria.

The two types of destructive bacteria found in the mouth are Streptococcus sorbrinus and Streptococcus mutans.

Both of them eat on the sugar you eat and form the dental plaque. It is the colourless, sticky film that is formed on the teeth surface. This ultimately leads to the formation of cavities.

The pH scale measures how basic or acidic a solution is and the neutral number, in this case, is 7. When the pH of the mouth goes below normal or lower than 5.5 the acidity starts dissolving the minerals and destruction of the enamel of the teeth occurs.

Through the process, the small erosions or holes are going to form. As time progresses, these get bigger in size until a cavity or a large hole appears.

Every acid attack lasts for about 20 minutes and each time you sip on the drink the acid damage starts to begin all over again.

The sugary and sweetened beverages have quite high levels of sugar and drinking these contribute to the formation of teeth decay significantly. The sports drinks, diet soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks and cordials all can lead to erosion of enamel giving rise to cavities.

Tips to fight teeth decay and erosion

  • Cut on your consumption of soft drinks and if you do drink, you must drink in moderation.
  • You should use a straw so that your teeth are much less exposed to the acid and sugar in the drink.
  • Do not drink an acidic or sugary drink over a prolonged period of time or slowly. Doing this exposes your teeth to sugar for a longer time doing more harm.
  • Use a straw for helping your teeth to be less exposed to the acid and sugar in the drink.
  • Go for rinsing your mouth with water after having sugary treats or drinks to reduce the attack of bacteria.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis for protecting your teeth from development of cavity. You should not also brush your teeth right after consumption of the sugary and the acidic drinks or you may need tooth cavity filling. You should wait at least for an hour so that your pearly whites can recover, and your teeth enamel is restored before being rinsed by the brush.
  • Never drink acidic or sugary drinks before going to bed otherwise your teeth will be coated with acid and sugar. Instead you should drink water as it does not consist of acid and sugar.

Apart from the above, you should also go for regular cleaning appointments and dental check-ups. This way the signs of dental problems can be detected early and treated before it takes an ugly turn and wreaks havoc on your oral health.

By following the above you will be able to fight tooth decay and retain your oral health year after year without any problem.