Sugar's Role in the Formation of CavitiesFeb 08 2018

When it comes to cavities, no other food comes under as much scrutiny as sugar.  But how much of a part in the formation of dental caries does it actually play?  The answer may surprise you.

First of all, there is more to it than just sugar.  It comes down to the balance between the good and bad bacterias that naturally inhabit your oral cavity (your mouth).  When sugar is introduced, the balance shifts, allowing bad bacteria to produce acids that can eat through the enamel of your teeth.  In addition, the pH of your saliva becomes more acidic with sugars.  The more acid in your mouth, the more likely you are to become susceptible to cavities and gum disease.

Of course there are other foods that we don't usually associate with sugar that can also be a problem.  These are carbohydrates like bread, crackers, chips, and even pasta.  These foods break down into simple sugars, which in turn cause increased acidity in your mouth.

Minimizing these foods in your diet will go a long way in protecting your smile.  But for the time that you do choose to indulge, here a few simple things you can do to keep them from doing too much damage:

  1. Rinse with water.  Not only will you remove some of the acid-producing particles from your teeth, but you will actually create a buffer between your teeth and the bad bacteria.
  2. Wait to brush.  This may sound counter-intuitive, but it is very important to know.  You see, when you eat, the enamel on your teeth is temporarily softened.  If you were to brush right away, you might do irreparable damage.  Waiting even 30 minutes to brush (especially after drinking sodas) decreases the negative impact.
  3. Visit your dentist.  You saw this coming.  But it is true that your dentist can help you stay on top of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
  4. Use MI Paste after sugary or acidic foods.  This is a tooth creme containing calcium, phosphate, and fluoride.  Applied 2 times daily, it nourishes teeth with important enamel-strengthening minerals.  We regularly carry it in a variety of flavors at Mark J. Warner DDS, Inc General Dentistry in Fairfield.
  5. Eat a diet high in minerals.  Not enough emphasis is given much of the time to eating the RIGHT foods, as opposed to NOT eating the WRONG foods.  We feel that the two go hand in hand.

If you have any questions about your or your children's dental health, give us a call!  We are happy to help.

Request Appointment