What is the main cause of tooth cavities and how to prevent cavities
Sharing knowledge is always good and I am looking forward to giving you information that will help you improve your oral health and your overall health.
As we all know, prevention is easier than dental treatment. So, let’s talk about prevention. Cavities are caused by multiple factors inside your mouth. To start with, realize healthy tooth enamel is the strongest substance that your body produces. In fact, enamel is stronger than any other substance on earth besides diamond. So how do holes form in enamel?
Cavities are caused by acid that demineralizes or weakens the enamel Where does the acid come from? There are certain bacteria that live in your mouth that cause decay because they produce acid. If you do not have these bacteria you won’t have cavities. The two most common bacteria that cause decay are Steptococcus Mutans and Lactobacilli . So you can “catch” a cavity like you do a cold. The Strept Mutans breaks down sugar into acids. The acids drop the pH in your mouth and the enamel gets weak because it looses minerals. As the pH drops, it makes it easier for the lactobacilli to grow and contribute more acid to the environment. Once the enamel has a whole in it, the bacteria can feed off of the dentin inside the tooth. Dentin is a living substance like bone. The bacteria breakdown the protein and collagen of the dentin and deminineralize it. As long as there is acid, the process just continues as the tooth is destroyed and the nerve becomes exposed and you have a toothache.
So how do we prevent this from happening? There are two main areas of attack: change the bacteria and control the pH. To change the bacteria, you can use xylitol products which don’t allow the Strept mutans to produce acid. Xylitol is a sweetener that at first the bacteria can’t use it. When they change to be able to use it, then they aren’t producing acid. You can also change the bacterial count by using antibacterial mouthwashes and of course by frequent toothbrushing. There are other products that reduce the number of bacteria. Loloz is a product that has a licorice extract that decreases bacteria and there is an oral probiotic that crowds out the bad bacteria with better bacteria. Controlling the pH can be aided by using baking soda toothpaste and chewing sugar free gum after eating. Another thing to be aware of is what we drink impacts the pH of our mouth. Sipping on regular soda is a double whammy because it is low pH and the bacteria love to break the sugar down into more acid. Even something as simple as drinking water can help get the pH back to neutral.
There are certain foods that help prevent decay by rainsing the pH. One is hard cheese, it has the minerals at the right pH to go back into the enamel and make it harder. Other foods that raise the pH are nuts, seeds, coconut, kidney beans, soybeans, watermelon and tuna.Back to General Dentistry Page