Dental Cavities and the Role Sugar Plays

With Halloween around the corner, and our dental office being in Salem, MA, the Halloween capital of the world, we wanted to talk about dental cavities and the role sugar plays.

A cavity by definition is an empty space within a solid object.  So, a dental cavity is an empty space within a tooth.  The empty space is first created by destruction of a tooth’s enamel.  The enamel is the hard, outer layer of a tooth.

How does the enamel breakdown?  Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on teeth. When we eat and drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in the plaque produce acids that attack enamel.  Because plaque is sticky, it keeps the acid in contact with the teeth and over time, if not removed, the enamel will erode.  This erosion of enamel is when a cavity is formed.

With Halloween, comes eating of candy which has a high sugar content.  It is important that we do not allow the sugar and the plaque to stay on our teeth for long periods of time. What we recommend is:

  1. Brushing twice a day and even throw in an extra time on days such as Halloween, when you consume a lot of sugar.
  2. Floss daily.
  3. Eat nutritious and balanced meals.
  4. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams.