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Tooth Decay and Acid Production

Most people think that sugary foods are the cause of tooth decay, but this is only part of the story!

Tooth decay is actually a result of acids. These acids dissolve the tooth enamel and cause cavities! But how do these acids get onto our teeth?
It takes sugar to make acids

When we eat or drink sugary foods or beverages, we aren't just feeding ourselves, we feed the bacteria too!

These bacteria take the sugar and turn it into acids, and these acids then start to dissolve the tooth enamel! Sugar doesn’t turn into tooth-harming acid without bacteria, so we need to have these bacteria in our mouths for sugar to harm our teeth.

Glossary and additional information

Government of Alberta Health and Wellness. A Parent's Guide to Healthy Teeth for Children Birth to Six Years. Available at: Accessed 07/03, 2009.
Milgrom P, Weinstein P. Early Childhood Caries: A Team Approach to Prevention and Treatment. United States of America: Continuing Dental Education; 1999.

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