Etiology: Sugars

It's not just WHAT, but HOW, children eat:

  • Oral bacteria produce acids that persist for 20–40 minutes after sugar ingestion.
  • Oral acids lead to enamel demineralization.
  • Remineralization occurs when acid is buffered by saliva.
  • If sugars are consumed frequently, there is insufficient time for the remineralization process to occur. The tooth is subjected to continued demineralization and the caries process progresses.
  • If sugars are consumed infrequently, teeth are able to fully remineralize and the caries process halts.

Graph shows changes in level of pH of the tooth surface with sugar consumption over time: