What Causes Cavities Besides Sugar?

Wellspring Dental

Everybody knows that dentists are constantly talking about the dangers of eating too much sugar. After all, sugar is one of the leading causes of cavities in both children and adults. But did you know that there are other cavity-causing culprits out there besides sugar? Join your dentist in Midtown as we share some of the other main things that can cause cavities. 


Steering clear of sweet treats can help reduce the risk of cavities, but there’s another ingredient you should be aware of that can also lead to decay. Carbohydrates are found in many of our favorite healthy and unhealthy foods, including bread, pasta, potatoes, and beans. But when we nourish ourselves with these carbohydrate-rich foods, we also feed the bacteria in our mouths. Bacteria love carbs (don’t we all!), and they’ll feed on them any chance they get. But they will also release an acidic byproduct. This acid can wear away at the protective layer of tooth enamel and cause decay. 


Speaking of acids, there are other ways our mouths are introduced to acid besides being the byproduct of bacteria feeding on carbs. We can introduce acid into our mouths from the foods we eat and beverages we drink. Foods like citrus fruits, tomato sauce, lemonade, and orange juice expose teeth to higher levels of acid, and as we’ve learned, acid isn’t good for enamel. The more acidic foods we eat, the more likely it is that a cavity will pop up. 

Poor Brushing Habits

Another leading cause of cavities goes beyond what we eat and drink and focuses on the oral health habits of brushing and flossing regularly. We need to brush every morning and night to remove bacteria and plaque buildup from our teeth, and we need to floss once a day to clean the areas brushing alone can’t reach. If we don’t remove these bacteria and plaque, they will attack our teeth and sure enough, a cavity will develop. 

Signs of a Cavity

Most cavities can be treated quickly and easily, especially when they are caught early. If they’re left untreated for too long, the decay will continue to go deeper in the tooth and may then require treatment other than a dental filling such as a root canal or extraction. Keep your eye out for some of the most common signs of a cavity including: 

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity
  • Staining
  • Pitting

If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Midtown

Even though cavities are the most common problem treated by dentists across the country, you can reduce your risk of one developing by taking care of your oral health by brushing and flossing regularly, eating a well-balanced diet with limited carbohydrates, acids, and sugars, and seeing your dentist in Midtown every six months. 

Accepting new patients at all of our NYC dental offices in Midtown, Brooklyn, East Harlem, and Murray Hill.

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