It’s common knowledge that sugar can lead to tooth decay. However, only a handful of people are aware of how that happens. As young kids, we’re taught that sugar results in cavities, and if we want to avoid painful procedures, we must avoid sugary things that put us at risk. But that’s only half the story. What most people don’t realize is that it’s not the sugar itself that does the damage, but rather the sequence of events that take place after eating that tasty chocolate. So, how does sugar cause cavities?
How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
How Cavities Develop
According to research findings, the mouth is full of bacteria, many of which are beneficial to the oral ecosystem. However, certain harmful bacteria will feed on the sugar in your mouth and create acids that destroy the tooth enamel (the tooth’s shiny outer protective layer). As such, cavities are an infection that causes holes in your teeth. If you fail to treat cavities, they can progress into deeper layers of the tooth. This can be very painful and possibly result in tooth loss.
A Constant Battle in The Mouth
Your teeth are frequently attacked by acids in the mouth. Fortunately, this damage is constantly being reversed. Acids leach minerals from your enamel through a process referred to as demineralization. The good news, however, is that the teeth are strengthened all over again through the natural process of remineralization. And the biggest player in the remineralization process is your saliva.
Saliva is rich in minerals such as calcium and phosphates to help repair your teeth. Another critical mineral that helps to repair a weakened enamel is fluoride. Nonetheless, remineralization can only do so much to prevent the effects of sugar on your teeth, especially if you consume lots of sugars and starches throughout the day. The best way to give your mouth a fighting chance to fix the damage is by limiting your intake of sugar.
Ways to Remineralize Tooth Enamel
Dental experts offer several tips on the prevention of cavities. In addition to cutting down your sugar intake, experts recommend stimulating the flow of saliva to help bathe your teeth in minerals. Consuming fibrous fruits and vegetables and chewing sugarless gum, for example, are good ways to stimulate saliva flow.
Black and green teas also contain substances that help to suppress harmful bacteria in your mouth, so adding a few cups into your daily routine, without sugar, can go a long way in keeping a healthy balance in your mouth. Additionally, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products also contain calcium and phosphates that help to strengthen your teeth.
Fluoride helps to not only prevent but also reverse tooth decay in its early stages. So, brush your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste and drink plenty of fluoridated water.
So how does sugar cause cavities? Cavities are a result of a chain of events that take place after taking sugary things. The secret to preventing the negative effects of sugar on your teeth is to be vigilant.