Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Let's start things off with a little quiz... 

Which is more likely to cause cavities?

1) Soda --OR-- Raisins

2) Crackers --OR-- Strawberries

3) Caramels --OR-- Taffy

4) Apples --OR-- Potato Chips

5) Chocolate --OR-- Breath mints

Answers: 1) raisins, 2) crackers, 3) both, 4) potato chips, 5) breath mints

There are several factors that determine the rate of cavity development of food. 

We all know that cavities are formed when specific bacteria in the mouth feeds on fermentable carbohydrates left in the mouth. And we all know that fermentable carbohydrates are refined sugars found in processed foods and complex carbohydrates found in fruits. 

Not all carbohydrates are considered equal, however. The rate at which a carbohydrate is considered cariogenic (i.e., cavity causing) is determined by these criteria: 

1. How long the carbohydrate stays in the mouth. 

The stickier the food the longer it stays in between the teeth and the harder is it to be removed. That's why in question 1 raisins are more cariogenic than soda. Raisins become stuck easily in between teeth and in grooves on crowns of teeth. Soda and other sugary drinks leave the mouth quicker. 

2. How many times a cariogenic food is eaten a day.

Someone who eats small quantities of potato chips all day without cleaning his or her teeth in between is more likely to get cavities than a person who eats a large quantity of potato chips.

3. How the food stimulates salivary flow.

Your saliva is an extremely important component of you mouth. Saliva speeds the clearance of food particles from the mouth and is a source of dietary fluoride which strengthens tooth enamel. Fresh fruits and vegetables encourage salivary production, so even though they can be acidic and cariogenic, residual food particles are flushed from the mouth. 


When making food choices always think about what the nutritional benefit is for you. Fresh squeezed orange juice and soda are both acidic and can cause cavities but soda has absolutely no nutritional value. The orange juice, although cariogenic, still provides vitamins and antioxidants. And remember, as long as you practice proper at-home oral care and see your dentist twice a year you will always reduce your risk of dental caries! 

Please visit our website for more information on dental caries and other dental issues!

1 comment:

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