Dental Tips Blog

May
20

How Acidic Is Your Mouth?

The pH scale measures the acidity of an environment. It starts at 1, which is the most acidic, and maxes out at 14, the most alkaline or basic. The balance of alkaline versus acid is an important one in body chemistry, especially when it comes to your mouth.

Too Much Acid in Your Mouth?

Having a low pH (too much acid) is disastrous for your teeth. Your pH only has to drop to 5.5 for the oral environment to become so acidic that it starts dissolving your tooth enamel. Enamel loss leads to sensitive teeth and cavities.

A healthy mouth should have saliva with a neutral pH of close to 7. That’s where pure water falls on the scale. But a saliva shortage and/or a lot of acids in your mouth can throw that off and cause an unbalanced environment.

A higher pH, on the other hand, allows teeth the chance to recover from acid exposure. Tooth enamel has the ability to remineralize in a basic environment. Saliva is basic and is a good source of the minerals your teeth need to protect themselves.

Prevent Acid Attacks

You can avoid the need for fillings, crowns and other dental restorations by cutting back on acidic foods like sugar, processed carbs, and citrus fruits. Foods like aged cheese and nuts are good for promoting remineralization. Rinse your mouth with water after every meal. Take saliva substitutes if you suffer from dry mouth.

Dental plaque is loaded with acidic bacteria, so daily brushing and flossing are essential to removing this source of acid. Fluoride-rich dental products will boost enamel remineralization and make your teeth more resistant to erosion.

See your dentist to learn more ways to reduce oral acidity and prevent enamel loss.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Nov
27

Does Sugar Really Give You Cavities?

You might be surprised to learn the truth about this long-held dental belief.

Sugar is harmful to teeth and is connected to the cavity-making process. But it’s not as directly related as you previously thought.

How Sugar Harms Your Teeth

Sugar fuels a certain bacteria in your mouth that thrives on carbs. This species, S. mutans, produces an acidic waste product after consuming sugar. This acid is what creates cavities.

As the germs continue feeding on sugar, they wear away tooth enamel and move into the hole. Over time, these patches of bacteria and decaying structures can reach the nerve of the tooth where it causes an abscess.

Sugar is also to blame because sweet drinks, desserts, and candies also tend to contain acids. Acidic foods like vinegar and fruit juice are notorious for wearing down and weakening enamel. After regular exposure to acids, teeth become more susceptible to decay.

Avoiding Sugar

It’s now up to you to lower your risk for cavities by limiting simple carbohydrates in your diet.

You might choose to cut out some items altogether, such as soda. However, you can still enjoy sweet things from time to time. The trick is to limit the amount of time they’re on your teeth and fueling the bacteria.

Have a sweet drink with your meal rather than sip on it afterwards. Avoid snacking. Switch processed snacks for healthy foods like nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, sliced cheese, and whole grain crackers. These foods are less likely to lead to feed bacteria.

Above all, maintain a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and fluoride use to prevent cavities. Also don’t forget your routine check ups twice a year. Ask your dentist about other ways to reduce your tooth decay risk.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

May
1

Top 3 Most Common Places Your Tooth Can Get a Cavity

Posted in Fillings

Cavities don’t happen at random. They’re the result of acidic bacteria that have dug out a hiding place in the tooth. A cavity forms when the enamel wears away from too much acid exposure.

Places where these bacteria thrive undisturbed are the most likely areas to suffer a cavity.

  1. Between Teeth

Remember how your dentist gets on your case about flossing? This is one of the reasons why. Cavities most commonly form in between back teeth which are overlooked in the cleaning process. Flossing helps to disrupt the colonies of bacteria and limits their ability to trigger decay between teeth.

  1. On Chewing Surfaces

All those little grooves you see on the tops of your chewing teeth are great hiding places for cavity-causing bacteria. Food debris packs into those little spaces and provides the fuel bacteria need to do their dirty work.

The kicker is that toothbrush bristles can’t reach the bottom of those little valleys. You can reduce bacterial buildup here with:

Dental sealants

Fluoride use

Professional dental cleanings

Limiting how many sticky sweet carbs you eat

  1. On Root Surfaces

Root cavities are particularly dangerous because of how quickly they advance. Your roots don’t have much in the way of protection. They lack the enamel layer that covers the crown of your tooth.

After your tooth roots are exposed via gum recession, they become especially prone to developing cavities. At this point, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly and using lots of fluoride.

Do you suspect you have a cavity? For a thorough examination and to find out more about your individual cavity risk, plan a visit to your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224

Feb
14

Sugary Drinks – Bad News For Your Teeth

Posted in Root Canals

The news is full of problems about eating too much sugar and too many sweet foods.  Obesity levels are at record highs in the United States, and there is a greater incidence of diabetes mellitus in the United States than ever before.  Another common problem seen with eating and consuming too many sweet and sugary foods is the damage it does to your teeth.

One of the problems with sugary or sweet foods is that they have little to no nutritional value. So, while drinking that soda that is full of sugar may taste good, it does not fill you up or give your body the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive.  This lack of nutritional value is what leads to the common problems mentioned above.

Many wonder what the relationship is between sugary drinks and cavities. When sugary or sweet things are eaten, a small amount remains in your mouth all the time. These bacteria that cause plaque thrive on this sugar in your mouth. In time, the plaque allows for an increased amount of acid to be made in your mouth, and this is what causes the tooth decay and leads to the need for dental resorations such as fillings, crowns, root canals, and even tooth replacement in severe cases.

One of the easiest ways to limit tooth decay is to limit the amount of sweets and sugar you consume each day. If you are going to eat candy, or drink sugary drinks, try to brush immediately after to limit the damage to your teeth.  If possible, limit the drinks you consume that are high in sugar.  Become a label buff, and read the back of packages and food labels to find out how much sugar is in things.

The healthier you are, the healthier your teeth are.

Jul
25

Helpful Facts About Cavities

Most Americans have had dental cavities at some point.  In fact, by age 65 over 90% of Americans have had a dental cavity.  Having a good understanding of the cause of cavities and how to care for your teeth can help you avoid tooth decay.

While most people think that sugar causes cavities, in reality cavities and tooth decay is caused by the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth.  These bacteria feed on carbohydrates (which sugars are high in) and produce acids that attack the tooth enamel.  Also, it’s not a matter of how much sugar  or carbohydrates you eat, but the period of time that your teeth are exposed to sugars and carbohydrates.

Constant snacking or sipping sugary drinks is much worse for your teeth than eating a larger amount in a single sitting.   In addition, brushing after meals removes the carbohydrates and the sticky film of plaque made up of bacteria and gives the bacteria less time to do their damage.

Acidic drinks and foods don’t directly cause tooth decay, but they can erode the surface of the teeth and provide a place for bacteria to collect and a cavity to form.  When the tooth’s enamel is pitted or eroded, it has less ability to protect the tooth from decay.

Not all cavities are painful or uncomfortable.  In fact, only the most advanced tooth decay will cause pain and discomfort.  For the most part, cavities will go unnoticed until they have caused significant damage to the tooth.  This is another great reason why professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups twice a year are important.

Once a cavity is filled by your dentist, the decay stops.  However, a cavity can loosen or new decay can start on the same tooth.  If there is a void between the filling and the tooth, bacteria will collect and tooth decay will start again.

Most Popular

Tori, Exostosis, and Extra Bone Formation in the Mouth

A fairly common occurrence in the mouth is the existence of extra bone development along the outside or inside of the jawline near the teeth, or in the roof of…

Lingual Frenectomy versus Lingual Frenuloplasty

Lingual frenectomy and lingual frenuloplasty are both dental procedures used to correct a condition called ankyloglossia. Ankylogloassia, more commonly known as ‘tied tongue’, is an abnormality of the lingual frenulum….

Difference Between Conscious and Unconscious Sedation

Sedation dentistry is a wonderful option for many people who would not or cannot tolerate dentistry in a traditional dental setting.   Many people have a fear of visiting the dentist,…