Does Sugar Cause Cavities? A Children’s Dentist Gives the Answer

a children's dentist checking a child's teeth “Sugar causes cavities.” Most of us grew up hearing our parents tell us that candy was the sole cause of all of our cavity ails, and many of us believed it enough to pass it along to our own children. But is this widely held belief actually true? According to a children’s dentist, the answer is both yes and no. If your child requires dental assistance, Lee Trevino Dental is the place to go!

Busting the Myth

Somewhere along the line, we came to the conclusion that watermelons do not actually grow in our stomachs when we eat watermelon seeds and that gum doesn’t stay in our bodies for seven years if we happen to swallow it. For whatever reason, however, the idea that sugar causes cavities stuck. But why? The answer really has to do with semantics. While sugar does contribute to cavities in theory, it is not the direct cause of cavities. All carbohydrates, if left in the grooves of the teeth, are culprits for the true cause of cavities: plaque.

The Science Behind Cavities

Carbohydrates are important in a well rounded, healthy diet. But in essence, carbohydrates are sugar. When we eat foods with simple carbohydrates, like chips or candy, the sugar is directly broken down in our bodies and absorbed into our bloodstream. Even when we eat complex and healthy carbohydrates, however, these carbohydrates eventually break down into sugar. While the fiber in broccoli and oatmeal slow down their absorption, they are still carbohydrates that are ultimately reduced to energy – or sugar. When we eat carbohydrates, remnants of food stay in our mouths. The bacteria in our mouths digest the carbohydrates, causing acid to form that mixes with saliva. As a byproduct of this process, plaque forms. If plaque is left on the teeth, enamel erodes and cavities begin to form.

Why Taking Your Kids to the Dentist is Absolutely Worth It

By brushing their teeth consistently and thoroughly, most adults can prevent the formation of cavities. When it comes to our children, however, it can be tough to know if their teeth are truly clean. If your child complains about tooth pain, he or she may have cavities or a toothache, and a visit to the dentist is clearly in order. Even if your child seems to be cavity free, however, your local children’s dentist will likely recommend a check up once or twice a year. If cavities are caught early on, they are usually treated rather easily. When they are ignored, however, minor cavities can develop and get out of hand. By taking their children to regular check ups at the dentist, parents are saving themselves a lot of time and stress in the long run.

Visit a Children’s Dentist You Trust

You want the best for your kids, and it is important that you trust the medical professionals that your children work with. At Lee Trevino Dental, we are committed to thorough, friendly, and cost effective services for your growing children.

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