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Does Sugar Cause Cavities? Yes...and No

November 28, 2017
Posted By: Dr. Gary Michaelson
dental cleaning | dentist in orlando florida

Most of us were brought up being told how bad sugar is for your teeth. But what you may not know is that, while sugar is a significant contributor to cavities, it does not damage teeth directly.

The Bacterial Connection

To understand how sugar affects your teeth, you need to know a little bit about the bacteria that call your mouth home. Your mouth has its own ecosystem, which scientists call the human oral microbiome. A major player in the microbiome is bacteria. And while it may be hard to comprehend, the fact is that more than six billion bacteria can live in your mouth at any given moment!

As you consume foods and drinks, bacteria colonize on your teeth and form a film called plaque. The bacteria in plaque need something to feed on, and they especially love sugar. As bacteria feast away on sugar, acid is produced as a byproduct. It is the acid that eats away at your dental enamel and leads to cavities.

How You Can Protect Yourself

The best way to protect your teeth from damage is to interrupt the bacteria-sugar-acid cycle. You can do this by brushing your teeth after meals and rinsing your mouth with water to flush out some of the bacteria.

However, your at-home efforts must be paired with routine dental exams and cleanings to be effective. Despite your best oral hygiene efforts, plaque collects in the hard-to-reach places between teeth and eventually turns into a hard substance called tartar. Only a trained hygienist can remove tartar using specialized instruments.

Please Call Your Orlando Dentist to Learn More

Understanding your dental health allows you take control and develop habits that support good oral health. Orlando dentist Dr. Gary Michaelson believes that an informed patient is a healthy patient. Our goal is to answer your questions and provide you with information that benefits your oral health.

If you’re ready to take control of your oral health, please give us a call!

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