Is Sugar really the cause of your Cavities?

Categories: General Dentistry

does sugar cause cavitiesSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

You’ve heard it all your life: Don’t eat all that sugar! It causes cavities! But is sugar really the cause of tooth decay?

The short answer is no. Sugar, itself, doesn’t cause cavities. It goes a bit deeper. Our family dentist in Santa Cruz is tackling this topic on today’s blog. Read on for more …

Let’s talk cavities

Cavities, also called tooth decay or “caries,” are holes of decay that start with normally occurring bacteria in the mouth. Without proper and consistent oral hygiene, the bacteria grows and turns into a sticky substance on the surface of the teeth called plaque. Plaque attracts even more bacteria, which continue to feed the plaque, eventually turning into tartar. Without regular brushing, flossing and trips to our Scotts Valley dentist for routine checkups and professional cleanings, the tartar will eat through the enamel of the teeth, forming a spot of decay, commonly called a cavity.

Why do people say sugar causes cavities?

Sugar mixes with saliva in the mouth becoming food for the bacteria, or the catalyst behind the bacteria that starts a cavity. Sugar feeds the bacteria that sticks to the teeth and, without proper oral hygiene habits, eventually causes a cavity.

Should I completely avoid sugar?

You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of sugary treats and snacks, but enjoy them in moderation, and always rinse your teeth immediately after consuming them. This helps wash some of the sugar and bacteria from the mouth. Crisp, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, are great for helping produce saliva that cleans the teeth and mouth.


When it comes to tooth decay, the best defense is a strong offense. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once. And just as important to your oral hygiene regime is visiting our Santa Cruz family dentist for routine appointments every six months. If it’s time for your checkup, give us a call at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, (831) 824-5111, or reach us online to schedule an appointment today.