Is Dental Decay On the Rise Again?
Well it certainly has seemed like it in our office this week. Not only have we seen more “cavities” than normal, but more of them PER PATIENT! And, naturally, none of these people are too happy. We’ve heard this question on several occasions: “Why am I getting cavities?!?” So, consider the following at least a partial answer to that question.
As has been discussed in earlier blog entries, cavities result according to this simple formula:
Bacteria + Food + Time = CAVITIES or GUM DISEASE or both
Bacteria are in the plaque which sticks to the teeth and grows every 24 hours.
Food is any carbohydrate, but especially sugar in any of its forms.
Time means how long it takes bacteria to produce acid from the food – about 20 minutes.
Want to prevent cavities? Eliminate any one of these three contributing factors. That’s it!
So, if you remove the plaque well every day — no cavities.
If you don’t ingest “bad” foods or drinks (e.g., candy, soda, etc.) OR if you clean such foods off your teeth shortly after ingesting them (i.e., cut down the TIME) –no cavities!
Yes, we understand that everyone eats some junk and has some plaque on their teeth, but applying a few simple rules will go a long, long way to help you prevent cavities and gum disease in your own mouth! Generally, when we see patients with cavities, we see substantial plaque. And, these patients are all brushing their teeth. Maybe these suggestions can help:
1. Use an electric toothbrush! Our favorite is the Sonicare, but any electric brush will accomplish more than a manual brush from our experience.
2. Brush the vulnerable parts of the teeth and gums. Especially the gumline where the teeth and gums meet. Cheek-side and gum-side. Aim the brush at an angle towards the gumline, and the biting surfaces of the back teeth where all the food and plaque catches in the grooves.
3. Do something to get between the teeth where we have seen a lot of decay lately. We used to call these “flossing cavities” because of the plaque stuck between the teeth. If you hate flossing, use a pick, mini brush, electric “flosser” (which are pretty cool and quite popular now) or whatever…
4. Use a good toothpaste with fluoride. Forget the whitening toothpastes as they can cause sensitivity and some may be too abrasive. We really like ClosysII which has worked really well for many patients and me. We insist that patients undergoing “major” dental work use this product to stay healthy during treatment.
5. BRUSH BEFORE BED always and then do not eat or drink anything except H2O!
6. Be careful what you eat or drink a lot of. Sports drinks have sugar, soda in all forms, or whatever can get around your teeth and cause cavities. Moderation or quick removal are the keys.
7. Call us if you have any questions or would like some Oral Hygiene Instruction. It will be our pleasure to help!
We can be reached at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com. We’ll follow up and expand on some of these suggestions in future blogs. Let us know if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like addressed. May you have a happy, healthy and cavity-free 2012!
NOTE: Originally posted January 12th, 2012