What is it that makes some people prone to getting cavities? If you’re tired of getting one filling after another, it’s time to learn about the process behind tooth decay.
All About Bacteria
Most people are unaware that cavities are caused by bacteria. If certain germs didn’t exist, then tooth decay probably wouldn’t either. But as there’s no way to completely eliminate this kind of bacteria from our mouth, the best we can do is understand it and fight it.
Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria responsible for rotting teeth. It feeds on the carbohydrates you eat and produces an acid waste product which in turn eats away tooth enamel. As holes begin to form in your tooth, more bacteria move in and continue their work.
Bacteria aren’t the only source of acid in your mouth. If the pH of your mouth is too low, your teeth will be under constant attack by acids. Foods high in simple sugars trigger acid attacks.
Normal oral pH is around 7. A pH that dips below 5.5 starts the enamel-destroying process of demineralization. Once enamel demineralizes, the bacteria can start a cavity.
Reducing Your Risk For Decay
Cut back on sugar. For some folks, a little sugar is still too much. Sugars aren’t just found in candy. Starchy and doughy items like bagels, crackers, and muffins also can feed cavity-causing bacteria and trigger enamel breakdown.
Brush and floss. Don’t brush immediately after eating a carbohydrate – you’ll only spread the sugar around. Wait a half hour. Floss daily and use anti-cavity toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Remineralize. You can’t replace enamel once it’s lost. But you can strengthen what you have left. Dental products rich in fluoride are great for preserving enamel and even restoring some areas weakened by decay.
See the dentist. Regular dental checkups are critical to maintaining dental health. Visit Shoreline Dental Care at least twice a year for x-rays, exams, cleanings, tooth decay counseling, and preventative treatments.