Nutritional role of sugars in oral health

Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jul;62(1 Suppl):275S-282S; discussion 282S-283S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/62.1.275S.


The dental risk of dietary sugars is dependent mainly on the frequency of intake, but the prevalence of caries in a population is strongly modified by other dietary, social, and behavioral factors independent from intake of sugars. Regarding dietary factors, it must be remembered that hidden sugars in fruit as well as polysaccharides are cariogenic. The most important of the other factors is regular tooth brushing, which results in the removal of the bacterial plaque that causes caries and periodontal diseases and makes fluoride (which is contained in every advanced toothpaste) available for maintenance of the hard dental tissues and for remineralization wherever demineralization has occurred. This explains why in most highly developed countries caries prevalence has decreased markedly during the past 20 y although consumption of sugars remained high.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / standards*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Oral Health / standards*
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / etiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates