How to reduce your chance of getting cavities:
One of the questions we are asked most is "Do I have any cavities?” If the answer is yes, then the next statement we hear is "But I brush twice a day!” Here are some tips to help keep your pearly whites in tact.
Caries (or tooth decay) is caused by a specific bacteria that produces acid and thrives on simple carbs. It is an infectious disease, and transmitted through saliva by caregiver to child between the ages of 18-36 months. The bacteria live in the grooves of the molars, and when the conditions are right, they spread to other surfaces of the teeth. It’s interesting to note that if the Mom is treated before the child gets their baby molars, it reduces the decay rate in the child. Cavities are a demineralization of the enamel of your teeth.
Each time you expose your teeth to sugar and other simple carbs, the pH in your mouth drops, and the enamel starts to "wash” away. Sugar activates the bad bacteria and those bacteria kill the normal bacteria and pour acid on the teeth. More than 3-5 doses of carbs can cause your decay rate to go up. Each exposure can drop the pH for 30 minutes at a time. That means that each time you sip on your drink or snack between meals, you are increasing the acid production in your mouth and washing away the enamel, for 30 minutes at a time.
The good news:
After the pH drops in your mouth, your salivary buffers kick in and start to re-mineralize your enamel. The use of fluoride makes a significant difference in how much your tooth is able to re-mineralize. We offer high dose in-office fluoride treatments to get you jump-started in the right direction. We also offer high strength home use fluorides that can actually reduce the bad bacteria in your mouth and can be absorbed by your enamel when dissolved in your saliva. The use of low-dose fluorides such as fluoridated drinking water, ADA approved toothpaste, and home OTC fluoride rinses (get the small bottles for maximum concentration) are beneficial as well.
Be sure to chew gum or use mints that have Xylitol listed as the first ingredient. It inhibits the bad bacteria. Look for Ice-Cubes, Theragum, Spry, Mentos, Theramints, TicTac Chill and IceBreakers Frost. Be sure you see your dentist and dental hygienist every 6 months, restore all filling and restorations with rough or broken down margins, and seal all grooves in the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
We would love to be able to tell you "No cavities!”