Our parents always told us to avoid eating too much candy and drinking too much sugar. Not only is it not part of a healthy diet, but we’ve always been told that too much sugar can lead to cavities. But is this true, or is it an old wives’ tale? Dr. John Highsmith is here to bust this myth and explain how sugar impacts one’s oral health.
First and foremost, it helps to understand what a cavity is to determine how it is caused. A cavity is an area of decay in a tooth where a hole develops in the natural tooth enamel. This decay is commonly a result of plaque, a bacteria that is sticky and forms during the digestive process, that builds up on the surfaces of a tooth. If it is not brushed away by the patient, it can cause these cavities. Without treatment, cavities can become larger and deeper and result in exposure of nerve endings in the teeth that cause significant discomfort. In situations such as this, root canal therapy is often needed to save the tooth, or an extraction may be performed.
These areas of decay are typically caused by bacteria. Sugar is not a bacteria, however, sugar can CREATE bacteria in the smile when it is not properly managed. Additionally, it can contribute to the development of gum disease, which also negatively impacts oral health. So the short answer to this question is no, though poor oral hygiene can cause the sugars in the mouth to create the bacteria responsible for cavities.
There are a few ways for patients to maintain good oral health habits and reduce their risk of developing cavities. This includes:
If you reside in or around the area of Clyde, NC and want to educate yourself further on the advantages of avoiding cavities, we welcome you to call the office of Dr. John Highsmith to request an appointment. Call (828) 627-9282 to schedule a visit and work with our team to achieve better oral health and wellness.