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MouthBusters: Does Sugar Cause Cavities

Does sugar cause cavities? Is it the only cause? Dr. Dylan Donnelly busts this myth in the latest MouthBusters episode.

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Myth: “Growing up I was always told that sugar is the only cause of cavities. Is that true?” – Robert from DeForest

Dr. Dylan Donnelly: “That’s a very good question, thank you. The simple answer to that is no, it is not sugar that causes decay, it’s actually bacteria, a specific bacterium called strep mutans. These bacteria eat the sugar in your mouth, causing a very acidic environment that causes decay. That’s why, when we talk about Mountain Dew or Gatorade, drinks that have high sugar content and very high acid content, are ones that make you a lot more susceptible to cavities. Also, removing that plaque around your teeth will take that acidic environment off. So is it sugar? Yes, but it’s really bacteria.”

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