With Halloween right around the corner, your kids are probably already anxious with anticipation for all the candy they’ll score and soon be sinking their teeth into. You may even be excited about sneaking a few pieces for yourself. But if you don’t want to spend November taking turns in the dentist’s chair having cavities treated, it’s important to be smart about your sugar intake. That way you can enjoy a few treats, as a family, without sacrificing your beautiful smiles.
Understanding the Cause of Cavities Can Help You Care for Your Teeth
You probably already know that sugar and cavities are closely related, but understanding why can help you make smarter decisions about what you eat and drink, as well as how to protect your teeth through proper preventive care. There are steps you can take, both at-home and at the dentist’s office, to prevent cavities and other dental problems from beginning, but there are also important restorative steps to be taken at the first sign of trouble.
The Basics Behind Cavities
Cavities are caused when plaque bacteria builds up on the teeth, and begins to erode the enamel. The reason sugar is closely linked to cavities is because plaque bacteria feed on sugar and simple starches which break down into sugar quickly. When you eat or drink a lot of sugary substances, it can allow the plaque to increase more quickly than if you enjoy a well-balanced diet.
Over time plaque buildup can erode your enamel to the point that it exposes the more sensitive layer beneath it, called the dentin. It’s at this stage that many people begin experiencing discomfort and sensitivity while eating or drinking. Because teeth cannot repair themselves the way many parts of the body can, the only way to stop a cavity and then correct the damage is through restorative treatment, like a dental filling or a crown.