Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

Teeth cavities are formed when the acids in plaque begin attacking the hard, outer layer of enamel on our teeth. The tiny holes that plaque erodes in the enamel are the first stage of cavities and will lead to the dentin being reached by the bacteria and acid in your mouth. Sugar is named as a prime culprit for cavities quite often, but does sugar cause cavities?

What Causes Cavities?

Plaque causes cavities, and we know that sugar causes plaque, so, therefore, sugar does cause cavities. However, this becomes an oversimplification when we ignore the fact that all food can cause plaque in our mouths, not just candy. Bacteria thrive on carbohydrates of any kind.

Eating a sandwich and eating a handful of candy will have similar cavity forming effects if you aren’t following dental care standards and brushing your teeth after every meal. Since candy is viewed as a non-necessity snack full of empty calories, it gets the bad rap. Despite most food causing damage to your teeth, candy becomes the scapegoat.


Candy and sugar can be consumed and not become cavities as long as a few dental health measures are taken. First, always practice moderation. Just because there are methods to keep your mouth clean and prevent cavities, doesn’t mean you should eat candy every day. The less sugar consumed, the fewer issues to deal with. When you do have some candy, be sure to rinse your mouth, floss, and brush your teeth soon after.

If you have a sweet tooth, talk to your dentist about dental sealants that can further help protect your teeth. Don’t forget to go to your regular dental visits to get your checkup and cleanings. If there are still worries about tooth decay, also discuss fluoride treatments as a potential way to strengthen your teeth.