Are Cavities Caused by Sweets?

You will notice that most children who like to eat sweets are common victims of cavities. This is because the presence of sugar in the mouth erodes the tooth’s natural cover called enamel, and makes the teeth susceptible to cavities. This can happen when you constantly eat sweet things such as candies and chocolate. Dental hygiene then becomes very important, especially if you are an adult, since the teeth that you lose to cavities are permanent and won’t be replaced.

The ins and outs of cavities

A cavity is created when a portion of the tooth decays and a hole develops. If the hole is left unfilled, it can become bigger and deeper. Once a cavity becomes big and deep enough, it can expose the nerve endings near the root of the tooth and be very painful. But what causes a cavity to form?

Plaque is the culprit that causes cavities. It is a substance that can cover an area of the tooth, made up of bacteria that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque coverts or uses the sugar to create acids, which destroys the protective covering of the tooth (enamel). Without enamel, the tooth is susceptible to the growth of more plaque and decay.

If you have a cavity, you can experience the following: toothache, swelling of the gums (which can be a sign of severe decay or an abscess), bad breath or taste, discoloration of your teeth that are gray, brown, or black.

Risk factors that contribute to tooth decay

  • Not brushing or flossing regularly

  • Not having regular dental check-ups and cleaning

  • Diet high in sugar and carbohydrates

  • Lack of fluoride

  • Low salivary output

  • Diabetes

  • Smoking, spit tobacco

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke

The importance of oral care

Both adults and children need to have good dental hygiene in order to prevent tooth decay. While children can lose their teeth and have new ones grow in their place, adults don’t have that luxury. Teeth, once lost, are only replaced one – with permanent teeth. When a permanent tooth becomes decayed and has to be taken out, another one won’t grow to replace it. To prevent tooth decay and loss from occurring, remember to:

  • Brush at least twice a day or after every meal, especially before going to sleep.

  • Clean between your teeth with floss at least once a day, unless contraindicated by your dentist.

  • Have a healthy and balanced diet! Limit snacks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, both substances that feed the bacteria growing in your mouth.

  • Drink at least 1 pint of fluoridated water each day. Fluoride helps strengthen teeth. The American Dental Association endorses the use of mouth rinse with fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

  • See your dentist regularly and have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year.

While cavities are sometimes and inevitable part of life, they are easily preventable and can be managed with good oral health and hygiene. It pays to take care of your mouth because you’re going to be using it for the rest of your life. Schedule an appointment with us at Greenspoint Dental today!