Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

does sugar cause cavities

Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

You’ve probably heard over and over all about the havoc sweets can wreak on your teeth and oral health. But does sugar actually cause cavities? If you’re skeptical about the link between sugar and cavities, you’re not alone. It can be difficult to understand exactly how eating sugary foods or drinking sugary drinks can lead to cavities down the road, so the experts at Prescott Dentistry are here to explain. Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between sugar and cavities. 

Understanding the Link Between Sugar and Cavities

While sugar can pose serious health risks like obesity and diabetes, it won’t cause you to get cavities all on its own. Cavities form when your oral bacteria digest any debris left on your teeth after eating, and they love carbohydrates—especially sugar. Eating sugary foods contributes to plaque buildup, which eventually leads to cavities.


The more carbohydrate debris the bad bacteria can digest, the more they will be able to reproduce and grow in the nooks and crannies of your mouth. If this bacteria is not washed away by drinking water or daily brushing and flossing, it can quickly spiral out of control and turn into plaque.

Particularly Harmful: Sticky Foods

By sticky foods we mean any sugary food or carbohydrate that lingers on your teeth after eating. These foods can include hard candies like mints, lollipops, and hard caramels. They can also include processed starches like chips, bread, and crackers that leave residue stuck in your teeth after you finish eating. 


Sticky foods provide the bacteria in your mouth with a long-lasting source of sugar. Retaining these foods inside of your mouth for long periods of time allows the bacteria in your mouth to break down the carbohydrates and produce even more acid. This acid leads to plaque buildup, which ultimately causes cavities and tooth decay.

Drinking Sugary Beverages Can Also Lead to Cavities

Thinking about washing any food particles out of your mouth with juice or soda? Think again. Sugary beverages can be particularly enticing for the bacteria in your mouth. Because the sugary drink is able to coat all surfaces of your mouth, it allows bacteria ample amounts of carbohydrates to turn into decay-causing acid. To combat tooth decay and prevent cavities, drink plenty of water with all of your meals.

Preventing Cavities Even if You Have a Sweet Tooth

If you’re someone who likes to indulge in sweet treats regularly, you can still prevent cavities by brushing and flossing after eating a sugary snack. We’ll give you bonus points if you use an oral rinse after brushing to wash away any remaining stubborn bacteria! By removing the food source for the bacteria in your mouth, you’ll make it much harder for them to release the acids that form plaque into your mouth.

Got Cavities? Call Prescott Dentistry Today!

If you suspect you have a cavity, give us a call. The worst thing you can do with a cavity is wait to get treated, as the decay will grow worse and become very painful very quickly. The caring team at Prescott Dentistry is happy to answer all of your questions about sugar and cavities. Contact us today to set up an appointment to get your cavities treated as soon as possible.