It’s not news to anyone that cavities aren’t good, that they can hurt, and that poor oral health habits can increase the chances of getting them. But do you know how cavities form? Or, that some sugars can actually prevent tooth decay? Here are some little-known facts about cavities that are not only interesting but may help you prevent cavities, too.
Cavities occur when the tooth starts to decay and are caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus Mutans. This bacteria breaks down the sugars that are in the mouth and secretes an acid as a byproduct. This acid is what starts to soften and break down the tooth’s enamel. The more this happens, the weaker the enamel gets, which eventually can lead to cavities on teeth.
Eat it Fast!
So, do you think it’s better to eat a bag of candy all at once or slowly over the span of a few hours? If you are indulging in a sugary treat, it’s actually better to do it all at one time. When sugary food enters your mouth, the process of the bacteria breaking down sugar and secreting acid lasts around 30 minutes from your last sugar intake. Prolonging the intake of candy and other sweets only extends the time acid is in contact with your teeth.
The Good Kind of Sugar
Sugar always gets a bad rap when it comes to cavities, but there’s actually a sugar that’s good for teeth! Xylitol, a natural sugar that’s often found in mints and gum, actually prevents bacteria from producing acid when it’s ingested.