You’ve probably heard that sugar causes cavities and therefore candy contributes to tooth decay. Here, we’ll explain what a cavity is, what causes cavities, how to prevent them, and whether candy increases the risk of cavities.
What Is a Cavity?
Let’s start off by explaining what a cavity is. A cavity is another name for tooth decay, which is what happens when bacteria produces acid that wear away at your tooth’s enamel, the hard protective layer of teeth. When the enamel becomes too weak, the acid will then reach the dentin, the next layer of your tooth that is much softer, and tooth decay will start to develop there. While cavities are often thought of as dark spots or holes in your teeth, cavities are not really detectable by anyone other than a dentist. If you do feel pain and see dark holes in your teeth, that means that the cavity has progressed and is very severe.
What Causes Cavities?
Tooth decay and cavities develop when the bacteria in your mouth builds up on teeth to form a clear, sticky film called plaque. This happens when you don’t brush or floss your teeth regularly, and the starches and sugars that are left in your mouth after you’ve eaten are not removed promptly. When food particles are left in the mouth, bacteria feed on them–particularly starches and sugars–and create acid that weaken your enamel and allow the bacteria to build up and form plaque. The acids in the plaque remove minerals in your teeth and create tiny holes in the enamel so that the decay can move to the dentin and then even further into the pulp which causes even more severe decay and pain. If plaque is not removed, it can form into tartar which can only be removed by a dentist.
Does Candy Increase the Risk of Cavities?
Yes, candy does increase the risk of cavities. One of the biggest risk factors to tooth decay is sugar because the sugar is what bacteria feeds on to create enamel weakening acids. Therefore, when you eat candy–which we all know is filled with sugar–, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of developing tooth decay. This is especially true if you do not practice good oral health care every day.
How Do You Prevent Cavities?
In order to keep tooth decay at bay, you need to have good dental health care habits. This means brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing at least once a day, and brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. As mentioned above, candy does increase the risk of cavities so be sure to eat a diet that is low in sugar and carbohydrates (which eventually turn into sugars) and instead eat foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Another important way to prevent cavities is by coming in for regular checkups and cleanings, so give us a call today to schedule an appointment.