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Causes of Cavities

by Angela

Angela's question...

In the section titled "Wrong Carbs", you say that eating the wrong carbohydrates can lead to cavities. Cavities need three things in order to form: specific bacteria(Streptococcus Mutans and Lactobacillis Acid), fermentable carbohydrates, and a susceptible tooth.

By saying that, people may think that any type of carbohydrate can cause a cavity on its own. As long as the dental plaque is completely removed from the mouth at least once a day, there is a very low chance of any carb causing cavities.

Also, taking medications or drugs, not having enough saliva or not having adequate levels of the proper chemicals can help cause cavities.

Suzy's answer...

Thanks, Angela, for providing important information about the factors that cause cavities to occur.

Simple carbs are a contributing factor.

However, it is inescapable that eating carbs, particularly sugary carb foods, may contribute to the development of cavities. Naturally, there are other contributing factors, and it is important that we know this information, too.

Here is a quote from the American Dental Association website:

Tooth decay is a destruction of the tooth enamel. It occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, pop, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.

Do we always brush after eating?

Also, keep in mind that very few people remove all the dental plaque from their teeth every day. Perhaps this is a commentary on our brushing habits, but it does also make a case for avoiding sugary carbs that contribute to the problem.

Other reasons to avoid bad carbs

However, my main concern on is that you eat a healthy diet that will help you feel well and live longer. Poor choices in diet, such as sugary desserts and snacks, even if you remove all the plaque on your teeth, can lead to a myriad of bad health outcomes, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and may even contribute to the development of cancer.

It's good to know all of the causes of cavities!

Thank you for bringing up this important topic and for providing information about the causes and prevention of dental cavities. I hope it will encourage people to brush and floss regularly and to eat whole foods that will help keep teeth, bones and organs in the peak of good health!

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell

Nutrition page

Sugar by another name
If you are trying to cut down on sugar or have medical issues that necessitate avoiding sugar, you need to be aware of these other terms for sugar. Even if you don’t have these medical problems, be aware that separating the sugars into different names may make the food look like it has less sugar than it really does. The best way to know how much sugar is in the product is to check the “Sugars” category under “Carbohydrates” on the Nutrition portion of the food label.

Here is a list of added sugars that you might find on a food label:

Names for Sugar (found on food labels)

All the “ –oses” including:

All the “syrups” including:

Cane syrup
Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Maltose Corn Syrup
Brown Rice Syrup
Malt Syrup


Corn Sweetener
Cane juice
Maple Sugar
Brown Sugar
Invert Sugar
Raw Sugar
Turbinado sugar

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