10 Myths About Sugar

Sugar Causes Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is not directly caused by sugar; any substance that lingers on your teeth contributes. Jovanmandic/iStock/Thinkstock

Ever go trick-or-treating at your dentist's home as a kid, only to receive a pencil or sticker because, your dentist said, candy (sugar) will rot your teeth? Your dentist wasn't totally wrong. If your teeth come in contact with sugary foods and drinks, decay can result. But that's only if those sugary substances sit on your teeth for a long time. Further, your teeth can also be damaged if all sorts of other foods are in contact with them for prolonged periods -- fruit, for example, or bread or oatmeal. Even healthy veggies can wreak havoc on your teeth [source: Health24]. Here's why:

A substance called plaque is what causes cavities. Plaque starts forming on your teeth the minute you eat or drink something. If you don't get rid of it, it will eventually erode the enamel on your teeth, creating tiny holes that are the very start of cavities. To prevent tooth decay, then, it's best to brush your teeth after eating. Even rinsing your mouth with water can help. If you've eaten foods that can easily get stuck in your teeth, like raisins, dry cereal, popcorn or raspberries, a thorough job of brushing, flossing and rinsing your teeth is critical [source: Palermo].