It can be quite a surprise when you find out that you have a cavity. One of the first things that come to mind is if you have a high sugar intake, such as candy or other sweet snacks. In reality, what you drink can have a bigger influence on whether or not you have cavities than if you have a piece of candy now and then.
Liquids naturally coat your teeth and access areas that are typically hard to reach. These generally include deep pits in the chewing surfaces of the teeth, or between the teeth where they touch (and a toothbrush can’t reach.) Other than water, all liquids such as juice, sports drinks, soda or diet drinks contain some type of acid or sugar (even if it is a sugar substitute). When sugars come into contact with your saliva, the digestive process breaks these down into an acid byproduct. These acids are active for approximately 30 minutes.
Sipping on a diet soda, juice or sports drink throughout the day can expose your tooth enamel to high amounts of acid. Frequent exposures begin to etch the enamel and eventually weaken it enough to cause decay that could ultimately require a dental filling, dental crown, or another type of restoration.
The best way to consume drinks other than water is to have them with a meal, drink them in a single sitting as opposed to sipping on them for hours, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water afterward. It’s not completely necessary to give up your favorite drink altogether, but you do need to limit the exposure time it has in your mouth. Once a day with a meal is typically safe, but for hours each afternoon is a sure way to earn a fair amount of tooth decay.
Posted on behalf of Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
For over 100 years, dentists have been using amalgam for filling dental cavities. Amalgam is silver colored and is made from a mixture of tin, mercury and other metals. In recent years, white composite fillings have become more popular because they are more aesthetically pleasing and eliminate concerns about the mercury in amalgam. However, composite fillings have their own issues and amalgam is still an excellent choice for fillings in many situations.
Amalgam is the least expensive material for dental fillings. The material itself costs less, amalgam fillings are relatively easy to place, and it takes less time for your dentist to place an amalgam filling. These days, when many patients don’t have dental insurance coverage, the cost savings on amalgam fillings can really make a difference.
In addition, amalgam has a proven track record as a strong, durable dental filling material. It can withstand the biting and chewing pressures exerted on the back teeth and can last 10 to 15 years or more with proper care. Composites are getting stronger, but still have a ways to go before they can match the strength and durability of amalgam.
Some dental patients are concerned about the mercury in amalgam fillings. These concerns have been around almost as long as amalgam fillings themselves, yet there is no scientific research to backup any claims of health hazards attributable to amalgam fillings. In fact, all of the scientific data indicates that the level of exposure to the mercury in amalgam is so small that it poses no significant health risk.
Amalgam is still used by dentists every day and is an inexpensive and dependable choice for dental fillings.
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