What's causing that cavity in your mouth?
Did you know that cavities are formed from acids, NOT the direct eating of the tooth by your mouth's bacteria? Acid on the tooth removes minerals from the tooth structure, weakening its surface and eventually creating a cavity. This varies from person to person depending on many factors that I would like to discuss with you:
BACTERIA– We all know that there is bacteria in our mouth, and that this bacteria produces acids in the process of breaking down the foods and sugars we consume. However, we all get different strains of bacteria, and some of these strains are extremely "cariogenic" or cavity causing.
So how do you get your oral bacteria? This unfortunately occurs at a very young age when you have no control. What occurs is called "seeding" and it is population of your oral cavity with bacteria from your environment.
One of the largest environmental factors is FAMILY. So when people say "my mom had bad teeth and I got her teeth," there is some truth to this; they likely got their mom's bacteria which was probably more cariogenic than say dad's bacteria.
A few things to remember parents; when you start kissing, feeding and caring for your little ones, you can pass bacteria to them. Please remember to keep up with your oral care as this is directly caring for your child by reducing the bacterial load available to pass to your child. However, if it were as simple as bacteria we may have conquered cavities by now.
DIET– The foods and drinks we consume directly affect our teeth. Since we said it is acid that creates cavities, any foods with a low pH have a demineralizing/cavity forming effect on the teeth, ESPECIALLY when consumed over long durations. Examples include sipping on a coke, coffee or energy drinks all morning.
Don't get me wrong, I sip my coffee all morning, we all do it, but we need to understand there are increased risks to doing it, and if we can change this behavior we may see some benefit.
The other aspect of diet that is important goes along with what oral bacteria each person has. Diets higher in refined sugars supply more nutrients for oral bacteria to break down into acid; these are foods like soda, candy, crackers, breads, cookies and other processed foods.
Therefore, if you have bacteria that is more efficient at breaking sugars down (i.e. more cavity forming), then you must be even more aware of your diet and how you consume foods.
There are three more factors (HYGIENE, SALIVA FLOW, and a LACK of PROTECTIVE FACTORS) I would like to discuss in future articles, but consider these first two and please feel free to ask any questions you may have during your next visit. See you soon!
Gates Family Dentistry
29990 Town Center Loop W
Wilsonville, OR 97070