We all know that cavities are caused by soda and sugary snacks like candy. However, just because a beverage or food does not have “sugar” listed in the ingredients does not mean it does not cause tooth decay. It is important to read ingredient lists closely and watch out for additives such as corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, laevulose, maltose, modified food starch, molasses, natural flavors, and sucrose. All of these elements are sugars that are often hidden in foods.
One of the most frequent things people say when they hear they have a cavity is, “but I don’t drink soda.” Sweetened liquids such as juices, sweetened tea, and sweetened coffee are often the culprits of cavities. Adding creamer to coffee often contains cavity causing ingredients. Also, be cautious of sugar substitutes such as Equal, Sweet and Low, and Splenda which contain dextrose.
It is not only about what you eat or drink, it can also be how you consume it. The frequency in which you eat or drink can increase your risk of tooth decay. Habits that increase the possibility of cavities include habitual snacking, eating before bedtime, chewing sugar gum, and regular use of candy or breathe mints. Medications that require everyday use such as cough drops, syrups, and antacids can also cause cavities.