Ask Your Boise Dentist: Where Are All Of These Cavities Coming From?
It’s time for your regular 6 month dental checkup with your Boise dentist Dr. Schmidt. The last time you were in to see the team at Green Tree Dental you needed a couple of cavities filled despite the fact that you brushed twice a day and even flossed most days.
You asked Dr. Schmidt “what can I do to keep from getting so many cavities?” Your Boise dentist may have responded with “well, you just have do a better job of keeping your teeth clean and lay off the sweets.”
So for the last 6 months, you’ve brushed vigorously after every single meal and you’ve become a flossing ninja. You’ve even ditched the sweets.
You’re certain that things will be different this check-up appointment. Maybe you’ll even get to join the cavity free club. And then your Boise dentist Dr. Schmidt shows you the x-rays and you notice the cavities in the picture.
Sound all too familiar? For most people improved home care with brushing and flossing paired with the proper diet is enough to slow down the cavity causing bacteria. But, every once in awhile we have patients that need a little extra help.
There are three things needed to form a cavity:
1) A tooth
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. There are different types of bacteria that cause gum disease, cavities etc. Among those different bacteria there are even different strains—some are more aggressive and can cause cavities quicker than others. This bacteria is transmitted from person to person. Thus sharing eating utensils and drinks is frowned upon so that the more aggressive bacterial strains are not transmitted.
3) A food source
The bacteria eat the foods provided (they love sugar- sweets yes, but also sugars such as carbohydrates in crackers and bread). After the bacteria have consumed the sugars/carbohydrates the byproduct is deposited onto the tooth. This byproduct is acidic and erodes the tooth causing a cavity.
How do we stop the cavity process?
Brushing and Flossing
Removing the bacterial byproduct (yes its basically bacterial “poop” on your teeth!) on a regular basis will help immensely. If the bacterial waste isn’t on the tooth it cannot erode the tooth to cause cavities. So get brushing and flossing folks!!!
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water helps neutralize the pH in your mouth so the cavity process is slowed. Water also helps remove some of the residual food stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth so that the bacteria does not have a food source.
Using Fluoridated Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Fluoride helps remineralize the tooth structure even after the erosion has occurred. This will re-strengthen the tooth and make it less susceptible to the acid. Additionally, fluoride helps inhibit the bacteria so that they cannot consume the sugars and function properly. Your Boise dentist Dr. Schmidt and the team at Green Tree Dental recommend fluoridated mouthwashes (such as ACT mouthwash) for all of our patients. Even for our young patients that can’t quite spit yet. For those young patients, we have them dip the toothbrush in the mouthwash and brush the teeth. If they swallow the little amount that was on the toothbrush, no big deal.
Of course avoiding sweets such as candy is always a good thing, but some of the most cavity inducing foods are ones people often forget about such as crackers, fruit snacks, dried fruit, and soda pop. We encourage our patients at Green Tree Dental to swap out the cavity causing foods for items like cheese, apples, and carrots. Your Boise dentist also encourages people to eat foods that contain Xylitol, as in IceBreakers gum and mints. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar that inhibits the bacteria.
Come see the team at Green Tree Dental regularly to have a thorough professional cleaning, review oral hygiene and proper home care techniques, and have an exam performed by your Boise dentist Dr. Schmidt to make sure that if cavities are forming they can be addressed while they are small and relatively easy to fix.
There is hope for those plagued with dental decay. Treat the infection, minimize the risk factors, remove the bacteria, and don’t feed the ones that remain.
I hope you will “like” and “share” this post. If you have questions about this or any other oral health topics, please talk to our team at Green Tree Dental.