Contrary to what you might have heard growing up, sugar is not the sole cause of cavities. But, it can contribute to it. It’s actually bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. Streptococcus mutans is the species that lives in everyone's mouths and spells trouble for our tooth enamel.
S. mutans produces an acid that wears away through layers of tooth. As a cavity is created, more bacteria invade and cause destruction. Does sugar play any role in this process? Yes, because carbohydrates are the food of choice for bacteria-causing S. mutans. Sugar in itself is very acidic. As your saliva breaks down the carbohydrates in your mouth, these acids stick to teeth and gradually weaken the enamel. So not only does sugar fuel bacteria, but it makes their job go a lot faster.
The following three foods are just a few examples of the most dangerous types of food you should limit to lower your cavity risk:
Very doughy and chewy carbohydrates have the tendency to get stuck in teeth for long periods of time.
Most of us enjoy a good bagel. But you can likely recall the unpleasant sensation of finding pieces of your breakfast stuck in your molars hours later. When those gooey pieces are left in contact with teeth for a long time, that's more acid exposure for your enamel.
2. Sports Drinks
Sweet drinks contribute the most to cavities on upper front teeth and between the back teeth.
Drinks like Gatorade are popular in hot weather and in the gym. But despite their healthful appearance, these beverages are loaded with sugar and additional acids that wash and soak the teeth with every sip, making them worse than soda!
3. Crackers and Chips
You might not think of a salty crunchy snack as being a cavity-causer. Yet, chips and crackers are carbohydrates. They can be even more dangerous than a one-time slice of cake because you're munching on them slowly throughout the course of a movie or game.
Fortunately, you can fight back against decay with diet changes and adequate prevention techniques. Greenville Family Smiles offers all kinds of diagnostic and preventative therapies to help you stay on top of your cavity risk. Call our Greenville practice today to schedule an appointment with the experienced cavity-fighter, Dr. Anna Goldston.