For decades, sugar has been considered the only culprit for dental cavities. 

So, we are usually asked that "If I stop having sugary foods, will the cavities stop?"

The answer would be NO!

Generally, sugar is one of the simpler forms of carbohydrates which is easily available to us. And the use of sugar for making delicious desserts is in practice since ages. But it is not only the culprit for cavities. There are many others, sugar being the most notorious.

In the remaining part of the article, we will show you with examples how sugar(different form) and other carbohydrates cause dental cavities and how we can prevent them. 

i) Sugar in the dissolved state 

We are taking an example of drinking tea with sugar, as the sugar here is in a dissolved state. Sugar becomes more dangerous in the dissolved state as it can travel and stick to all the surfaces of teeth and mouth. This becomes a potential treatment as the bacteria can use any fluid to travel to all corners of tooth and mouth consume the sugar and cause cavities.

(ii) Sugar as sticky food  

Bakery products are also most potential threats for teeth and general health. Here sugar is in sticky form along with simple flour (Maida). These products (cake, chocolate, cookies, toffee) stick to the tooth surface and are present for a longer period of time, if not cleaned properly.

(iii) Other foods causing a cavity 

Refined flour( Maida) Example Puffs, pastries, bread etc.

Rice with high starch content

Complex carbohydrates like Roti etc.

iv) Other foods helping cavity formation indirectly

Soda- Sweetened or unsweetened - They increase demineralization of the tooth structure.

Sweetened Soda contains sugar and acts as a double-edged sword on the tooth surface.


It has been noted that people with regular exercise and having unrefined (whole) food like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fresh dairy products (unsweetened), unprocessed non-vegetarian food, do not show a lot of caries/cavities for a long period of time.


Having sugar or sweet foods cannot be abolished completely, so, moderation is the key.

That means for example if you have 5 cups of tea in an interval of 2 hours each. You are exposing the teeth to sugar 5 times, that increases the risk of cavities.

Having exposure with a large quantity of sugar once and cleaning your teeth is better than having a small quantity of sugar again and again.