Don’t Feed the Cavities

Nature’s scary. Watching the Discovery Channel for an hour or two can teach us that. The nature that’s closer to you, however, can be equally disturbing, if you look closely enough. Your mouth, for instance, is an ecological forest that hosts over 600 identifiable kinds of bacteria. Some are harmless, while others, like Streptococcus mutans, focus their energy on systematically destroying your teeth. The more you feed them, the more they metabolize, and the greater your risks become for developing infectious tooth decay or other dental issues.

The Eating Habits of Oral Bacteria

When S. mutans and other bacteria accumulate in your mouth, they form dental plaque to protect them from saliva as they proliferate. Like all living things, these microbes eat and process the nutrients from your food and beverages.

When S. mutans feast on sugar, starches, and other carbohydrates, they convert them into acids, which dissolve the enamel around your teeth and pave the way for cavities. Every time you snack, your enamel can be exposed to acid, which depletes your teeth of the minerals they need to maintain healthy enamel.

Healthier Snacking Alternatives

You don’t have to cut sugar out of your diet completely to avoid tooth decay. After all, other carbohydrates can still feed acid-producing microbes. Instead, limit the amount of times you snack throughout the day, and save the sugary desserts for after larger meals, like dinner. Consuming calciumand phosphate, the building blocks of tooth enamel, can help keep your teeth well-protected. If you must snack, choose cheese, sugar-free yogurt, milk, crunchy fruits, and green leafy vegetables to help keep your tooth enamel strong and resilient.

Protection for Your Tooth Enamel

Does your toothpaste container say that it contains fluoride? If not, your next one should. Fluoride is a mineral that binds to tooth enamel—your teeth’s first line of defense against infectious mouth germs. After the acids from your meal dissipate, your teeth can replenish their minerals and fortify their weakened enamel. If acid erosion outpaces remineralization, then enamel can develop holes that can’t be repaired. Fluoride toothpaste and fluoride treatments help strengthen enamel in the face of acid erosion to reduce the risk of cavity development.

About Your Grand Prairie Dentist: 

Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you’re a new or returning patient, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.