24 Apr Does sugar really cause cavities?
Your parents and family dentist have probably encouraged you to steer clear of sugar to protect your oral health. Excessive sugar does contribute to common oral conditions including cavities; however, it does not directly cause tooth decay.
Cavities are caused by a specific type of oral bacteria. These bacteria feed on sugar and release acid as a byproduct. As they feed on sugar molecules, bacteria form a sticky substance called plaque that coats teeth. If plaque is not removed with oral hygiene, it will weaken teeth and ultimately contribute to the development of cavities.
How are cavities treated?
Cavities are treated with restorations. A small cavity can be addressed with a simple filling, which is applied in a non-invasive procedure. Advanced tooth decay, however, requires more extensive restorations like crowns and inlays, which are typically custom made in dental laboratories.
How are cavities diagnosed?
Cavities are diagnosed during dental checkups. Dentists use X-rays and other diagnostic technology to reveal tooth decay. If decay is found, your oral healthcare provider will likely recommend a restoration.
What happens if a cavity isn’t treated?
A cavity is a depression within tooth structure caused by bacteria. Without timely professional treatment, cavities will deepen and widen into a tooth. Over time, they may cause a tooth to become infected. This can lead to the need for more invasive treatment or even tooth loss.
How can I prevent tooth decay?
You can reduce your risks for tooth decay by practicing great oral hygiene, receiving regular professional cleanings, and watching your sugar intake.
Our family dentist encourages patients to brush thoroughly twice a day and floss at night before bed. Even if you practice great oral hygiene, you still need routine cleanings. A cleaning will remove plaque and tartar accumulation, which helps protect your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. Since harmful bacteria feed on sugar, it’s best to avoid sugary foods and beverages whenever possible.
If it’s time for a dental checkup or cleaning, call Kozlow & Rowell Dentistry to schedule an appointment.