The Truth About Decay And Cavities – What You Must Know
Ideal Dentistry €“ The Truth about Decay
Nobody likes to see the dentist, yet our lifestyles are geared towards tooth decay and inevitable dental visits. Cavities are €œnormal€ and expected, yet they are completely preventable.
Each new patient at my practice receives a comprehensive exam and then, most importantly, a consultation on where they stand, how they got there and what it takes to avoid any future dental problems.
Here is a general synopsis of the information you can expect during your consultation:
Bacteria: Sugar Bugs DO NOT Eat Teeth
There is a common misconception out there that bacteria eat teeth and cause the cavities. Well, that is simply not true. Bacteria do not eat teeth. Bacteria eat junk food, candy, sugar, etc., then €œrelease€ acid as a waste product. This acid sits on the teeth, demineralizing them. This demineralization is what we call a cavity. In other words, acid causes cavities, not bacteria.
Maintenance: Clean Teeth Are Easier To Maintain
So imagine this. You have a brand new car that was just waxed and buffed. As water and dust fall onto the paint it easily blows off due to the shiny slick surface. Water pearls right of a freshly waxed car. Now how about a car that has a very old scratched paint job with swirl marks all over it. It is dull and dingy without any shine. Dirt sticks to it and water just sits on it. Well, the same thing happened to teeth.
Acid does not only cause decay but it makes the entire tooth surface more like sandpaper, not glass. The acid slowly eats at the surface taking away that shiny glassy look and feel. Now every food particle sticks to the teeth. Bacteria live in this food that sticks to the teeth and release more acid, which in turn makes the tooth more like sandpaper. Now those €œpearly whites€ are not pearly anymore by any means. They are food traps. This trapped food, bacteria and waste product also gives you bad breath!
The 2 minute rule of brushing was created for perfect €œpearly white€ teeth, not for sandpaper like tooth surfaces. 2 minutes of brushing on sandpaper teeth is almost useless. Double or triple this time, at least, if you want to actually clean all your teeth. Taking this into account, how many kids that have acid eaten teeth that are now more like sandpaper actually brush correctly for 2 minutes? I venture to guess very few. The national average for all people is more like 1 minute.
If you have clean, shiny hard teeth then 2 minutes of brushing and flossing will maintain your mouth very well, but if you have less than perfect teeth due to constant acid exposure then you need to brush longer and more frequently. The good news is that teeth can remineralize!
Acid: Where Does It Come From And How Do I Avoid It?
This is the most important dental question anyone could ask. If you understand this then you know how to prevent cavities as well as seeing the dentist. We know that cavities are actually caused by acid eating into the teeth, therefore the goal is to eliminate acid from the mouth. A quick lesson on pH: Teeth demineralize at a pH of 5.5 or less. So, anything that has a pH of 5.5 or less should be avoided. Soda, diet or regular, has a pH around 3-4. Most mouthwashes have a pH in the mid 3s. Flavored water has a pH in the 3s. All these products create an environment in your mouth that dissolves your teeth and helps bacteria grow. There are only a few liquids that are not acidic, regular water being one of them. After taking a sip of soda it takes 20 minutes, in a healthy mouth, to get the pH back to neutral (7.4). So, if you have to drink a soda, drink it quickly, do not sip, and rinse with water afterwards.
The moral of the story €“ check and be aware of the pH of what you eat and drink – You are what you eat!
Yes, you can rebuild and remineralize your teeth, naturally! With the right amount of minerals in your diet/saliva your teeth will rebuild themselves. The key is to rebuild your teeth quicker than they are breaking down. Every person€™s teeth break down and rebuild at different rates. Some people seem to never get cavities regardless of what they eat or drink, while others just look at a soda and get decay. Your best bet is to focus on rebuilding your teeth while eliminating acid from your diet.
So, how do you rebuild teeth? There are several products out there that help rebuild teeth such as fluoride and MI Paste, a calcium derived product. Furthermore, your saliva needs to be plentiful and packed with the right minerals. Certain medications such as allergy medications reduce the saliva flow and that significantly impacts the ability of your saliva to protect and rebuild your teeth. A healthy well balanced diet is very important. Avoid processed food, preserved food and junk food. Buy whole organic and natural products whenever possible. Snack on vegetables such as carrots and celery, not chips. Drink lots of spring water, not flavored water. Essentially, if the earth does not make it then avoid it!
Dentistry: Fix the REASON Behind The Problem First
Often fillings are placed and the reason given is that there was decay. Well, yes, obviously there was decay, but why was there decay? The focus, first and foremost, needs to be on how the decay got there in the first place, otherwise decay will come right back around the filling or on another tooth. During your consultation we will evaluate your current dental health, diet and hygiene. This will give me a baseline on how decay prone you are. From here we work on building a strong foundation that is decay resistant.
Smile, It’s Natural!