So does Halloween candy cause cavities.
Cavities are caused when bacteria that produce acid dissolve holes in the teeth.
This process requires three things:
1.) The bacteria
2.) Nutrition for the bacteria
The process is not instant. The bacteria must be left on the tooth for an extended period of time. This is usually many hours a day for many days in a row (weeks or months).
Not only must the bacteria be on the tooth, but they must also have nutrition. Fermentable carbohydrates is the term for foods that can be turned into acid by a process called fermentation. Fermentable carbohydrates are all forms of sugar and other carbohydrates that are easily converted to sugar, most notably starch. Bacteria do not need constant access to sugar to create decay, but frequent consumption is very destructive. This is because the bacteria absorb as much sugar as they can very quickly (in seconds). Then they slowly digest it over about 30 minutes releasing acid the whole time. So if you frequently snack on or frequently drink fermentable carbohydrates your teeth will be exposed to acid almost constantly.
The most common culprits are sugar containing beverages (juice, coke, sweetened coffee, or sweet tea), sugar gum, and sugar mints or hard candies. Halloween candy that is consumed over a few weeks and is consumed on a irregular basis is not as likely to be a problem. Having a cup of juice 4 times a day in between meals is very likely to be a problem.
Finally, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to remove the bacteria on a regular basis. The longer the bacteria are on the tooth the worse they become. The first bacteria to move in produce less acid than the ones that move in a day or two later. The best thing you can do to avoid cavities is clean the entire tooth at least once a day. This means both brushing and flossing. It is important to brush near the gumline as well. Flossing is a must because 40% of the surface of the tooth is between the teeth. This are is inaccessible to a toothbrush. If you never floss, this area is as dirty as the rest of your tooth would be if you never brushed. Yuck!
So here’s to happy flossing & brushing & less tooth decay!
Did this post on sugar and cavities make you want to brush your teeth? This dentist in Edmond, OK would love to hear about it. Please comment on this post on our Facebook
If you are looking for an Edmond dentist, we are excited to accept new patients! Call the office at 405-44-SMILE today for an appointment. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jay Peck, DDS