Monday, March 3, 2014

3 things everyone needs to know about tooth decay!

I know it can be frustrating when you feel like you have done everything to prevent tooth decay, but still get cavities and others never get them. The cards just are not the same way for everyone.  We are all genetically different and that can play a major factor on how our bodies react to our environment.  I do believe that we all have a chance to achieve great oral health no matter what cards we are dealt, but some have it harder than others to achieve those same results.  There are still many things that can be done that can help aid you in your quest for a cavity free check up. 
First of all, diet plays a major role.  But sometimes it’s not what you eat, it’s when you eat it.  Acid levels increase in your mouth every time you eat regardless of what you are eating.  Peaks in acidity are usually not the problem.  It’s the number of peaks or the time you stay in that high acid zone that is the problem.  For example, if you pour yourself a coffee at 9 am that has sugar and milk in it and nurse that coffee until 11:00am taking sips throughout the morning, the potential to do harm to your teeth is greater than if you finished that coffee with breakfast. The goal is to keep yourself in that low acid zone as much as you can throughout the day so your teeth have a chance to recover (i.e. remineralize) from the peaked high acid levels. 
Secondly, technology rocks.  If you are not using an electric toothbrush already get one.  Regardless of the brand or quality of a manual toothbrush, its effectiveness cannot compare to that of the excellent quality electric toothbrushes that are out there.  I always recommend one that is rechargeable.  Typically the brush heads are smaller and they are always charged and ready to go.  Remember to change the head every three months, as they will wear out the same as a manual toothbrush. 
Thirdly, it’s not one toothpaste fits all.  If you’re constantly getting cavities, than a boost in the fluoride content of your toothpaste can help and some toothpastes can help remineralze teeth that have developed small cavities that have not progressed beyond the enamel (i.e. the outer layer of the tooth).  These toothpastes are not amoungst the dental product section of your pharmacy or supermarket.  Instead they are behind the counter and must requested from the pharmacist.  In some cases they have to be specially ordered by the pharmacist. 
Finally, there are three parts to the equation when it comes to cavities.  It takes acid production and a carbohydrate to cause cavities but it also takes acid producing bacteria.  So it stands-to-reason, that a reduction in the levels of bacteria or a disruption in the types of bacteria in the mouth could effectively decrease your risk of getting cavities. Hence, antibiotic intervention should be considered. 
So that is four years of dental school, twenty-nine years of practice and countless number of continuing dental education courses in a nutshell.  I hope it helps.  Please feel free to contact me at Dentistry on Dundas for further insight into cavity prevention and selection of the appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste.