Understanding and Preventing Dental Cavities
Tooth Cavities are caused by a disease called Dental Caries.
-Bacteria live in our mouths and on our teeth. They feed on carbohydrates and sugars in our diet.
-Bacteria turn sugar and carbs into acid. This acid removes hard minerals from our teeth, softening them and creating a hole called a cavity.
-Filling the cavity fixes the hole…but doesn’t stop the disease that caused it.
Fighting Cavities requires that you do 5 things:
1. Eliminate the acid-making bacteria
a. Brushing: Removes the bacteria from teeth and tongue. Rechargeable Electric Toothbrushes work the best. Minimum recommended: Twice a day
b. Flossing: Removes bacteria from between the teeth, where many cavities start. Floss once a day
c. Xylitol-sweetened gum: Breaks up food deposits on teeth when brushing isn’t possible or convenient. Try Xylichew from Nature’s Fare Market or Trident XtraCare.
d. Fill existing cavities to eliminate bacteria and prevent further damage to your teeth
2. Limit the time that your bacteria can get their favorite foods
a. The bacteria that cause cavities thrive on simple sugars contained in pop, candy, and most processed food products. They also love carbs like crackers, granola bars, bread, and chips. The more time these foods spend in your mouth, the more likely you’ll have cavities.
3. Decrease acidity in your mouth
a. Some people have bacteria that are more acid loving. These bacteria can cause you to have more cavities, even if you’re a great brusher. This is called “Caries Susceptibility”.
b. Your saliva flow is greatest at mealtimes and helps to wash away bacteria and lower your mouth acidity. Snacking in between meals or at night causes more cavities due to less saliva flow at those times, leading to more acid.
c. Beware of acidic drinks, like iced tea, lemon water, and pop. Avoid Citric Acid containing drinks (like canned iced tea).
d. Use a rinse that lowers your acidity, like CariFree CTX3 Rinse.
4. Eat the right foods
a. Pop is generally acidic and sugary, which creates a very bad combination for your teeth. Drinks containing citric acid are some of the worst for your teeth. We have handouts available on the acidity of common beverages.
b. Cavity-safe foods include cheese, meat, and vegetables. Nuts and fruit are also safer than carbs or sugars. Try to eat more foods found around the edges of the grocery store…and fewer from the aisles.
5. Use Fluoride supplements to harden your teeth against Acid
a. Fluoride is absorbed into your teeth and hardens them against acid softening.
b. Fluoride rinses should be water based and have a basic pH (>7). We strongly recommend CariFree CTX3 Rinse
c. Always use a Fluoride toothpaste. If you are susceptible to Caries, we recommend CariFree CTX4 gel 1100.
Check out Cari-Free products at carifree.com. I sincerely believe they are among the best on the market right now, as their pH, abrasiveness, and ingredients reflect an understanding of the modern research on caries prevention. We stock Cari-Free products for your convenience.