The Cure for Cavities and Prevention of Other Oral Diseases
The Cause of Cavities
The formation of cavities is well understood and can be prevented. Bacteria in our mouth metabolize sugar and it becomes an acid. This acid makes the holes in our teeth we call cavities.
Diet and Sugar Exposure Time
It is important to avoid extended exposure to sweetened foods and drinks; especially those foods with added fructose and sucrose. Avoid frequently consuming sugary products. When you do, limit the exposure time. For example, eating a chocolate bar for 5 minutes is much better than sucking on Jolly Ranchers for 45 minutes or chewing sugar gum for an hour. Drinking a soda for 10 minutes during lunch will have less exposure time than sipping a soda for an hour at work, or a Gatorade during a workout. In general, avoid sugars that are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Some foods are acidic in nature, such as diet soda, and can also damage teeth with prolonged exposure.
Bacteria collect on your teeth in a film called plaque. We can prevent cavities by removing plaque regularly. We do this by brushing and flossing. Brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes each time. Floss once a day.
Fluoride and Other Aids
The outer layer of the tooth, the enamel, can incorporate fluoride into its structure making it more resistant to acid. Fluoride can be found in your toothpaste, your drinking water, and treatments done by the dentist. With fluoride, the correct amount and type of application is important. Discuss with Dr. Smith what is right for you. There are other products that can help as well, such as xylitol. Ask Dr. Smith about these additional products and their correct use.
Periodontal disease can be devastating and can even cause a patient to lose all of their teeth. Bacteria found in plaque is a cause for this disease as well. Bacteria cause inflammation and damage the tooth’s supporting structures: the bone and gums. Brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings can help prevent periodontal disease.
Tobacco is the leading contributing factor of oral cancer, but anyone can get it. An oral cancer screening should be done at every dental exam.