Sugar Is the Prime Cause of CavitiesMyth, but it's almost a fact.
The truth is, acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities, says Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, an American Dental Association consumer advisor and former president of the Minnesota Dental Association. However, these bacteria are triggered to make acid when you eat anything with carbohydrates -- and sugar is a carb.
Rice, potatoes, bread, fruits, and vegetables are also carbs.
Once the acid eats into your tooth, the bacteria “have a nice little hole to live in where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach,” says Harms. The bacteria continue to metabolize carbs and produce acids -- and your cavity just keeps getting bigger.
Here’s an important fact. It’s not the amount of carbs you eat that causes tooth decay, but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a lot of carbs for lunch, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, that’s continuous exposure -- and much more unhealthy for your teeth.
“We have a saying,” says Harms. “Sip all day and get decay.”
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