What Causes Tooth Decay?

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Have you ever wondered what causes tooth decay? Or why some people have great teeth, but still eat all the candy they want? Or conversely someone who seems healthy, but has awful teeth? The answer is both simple and complicated.

The first point is that sugar does not cause cavities or decay. But before you go grab that soda or pack on gummy bears, you do need to know that sugar does have a relationship with cavities – that is the sugar becomes food for the bacteria that live in your mouth. (Don’t be too grossed out… everyone has mouth bacteria!)

Now, these bacteria feast of the sugar in your mouth and then produce acid—and it is that acid that wears away enamel and eventually destroys teeth.

So, what to do?

It is pretty simple. You need to avoid having acid in your mouth. You can do that by brushing after snack and meals, and after beverages. Keep your mouth at a neutral pH and the bacteria will not have anything to eat and your teeth will stay healthy.

Existing damage?

If you have thin or worn enamel, you can build it back and protect the weaker dentin underneath with fluoride providing the cavities have not reached that layer. We recommend rinsing with Listerine, and then following with a fluoride rinse after you brush to keep the germs at bay, and the teeth protected.


So, go ahead and eat the sugar, (in moderation… it still is not great for your body), but don’t let it linger in your mouth or remain stuck in your molars. Wash, rinse and floss regularly and have a clean, and healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Have questions?

We are always happy to talk to you about your tooth decay dental concerns. Each and every person has a unique dental history and situation. Make an appointment today to have a personal consultation with your dentist and dental team at Parkview.

Dr. Brandon Schmidt | 01-July-2021

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