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
Say goodbye to tooth decay by adding a few important steps to your evening routine.
A hydrated mouth is key to keeping enamel strong and kicking out cavity-causing bacteria. Water can also help neutralize food acids from your dinner.
Flossing prevents cavities between teeth. When you floss at bedtime, you’ll probably be in less of a hurry than if you did it in the morning.
Don’t shirk! The longer you brush, the greater your chances of scrubbing away every bit of plaque that causes decay. Any plaque you leave on your teeth before bedtime will work all night long to wear down enamel.
It’s tempting to rinse out the foamy bubbles after you brush. But you’re better off leaving that residue there after spitting, since ingredients like fluoride keep benefitting your teeth while you sleep.
If your dentist recommends it, swishing a fluoride rinse for about a minute is a good way to strengthen your tooth enamel against bacteria acids.
Use an anti-sensitivity toothpaste as a varnish or condition on weak areas. Sensitivity toothpastes help strengthen enamel and deliver fluoride where it’s needed. Dab a little paste on exposed tooth roots, sensitive teeth, and dental fillings before you go to bed, and leave it there without rinsing.
Take advantage of the evening hours before bed to thoroughly clean and strengthen your tooth enamel. Your teeth (and bank account) will thank you for needing fewer fillings! Ask your dentist for more tips on preventing cavities.
Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29708
Some people think chewing gum is a rude or an unprofessional habit. There are, however, some surprising oral health benefits to popping the occasional piece of gum.
Lower Cavity Risk
Choose a gum that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute, and you can actually reduce the population of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth which means fewer fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations. Read the rest of this entry »
Tooth decay is underestimated far too often. Knowing the facts can help you make smart decisions for your family’s health.
Cavities are a disease caused by a specific kind of bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans.
While you can’t avoid this bacteria, you can keep it from wreaking havoc on your teeth.
A diligent routine of brushing and flossing will help you keep the germs at bay. Limit how often you have simple carbohydrates in your mouth since these are what the bacteria feed on. Strengthen your tooth enamel with fluoride and other remineralizing agents.
A little prevention can help you completely avoid a costly root canal.
At this point, you already know that tooth decay is a bacterial infection. We often acquire the bacteria from our parents and continue to share the germs back-and-forth with anyone else we kiss or share a straw with.
This also means that decay spreads tooth-to-tooth. If you have one cavity, you can’t afford to ignore it since it will only go on to infect the next tooth, doubling your problems.
Just because they’re baby teeth doesn’t mean they should be allowed to continue decaying. Children’s cavities can hurt and abscess just like adults’ do. Dental abscess in children can even spread to the brain. When a baby tooth decays untreated, that can also affect the health of the adult tooth yet to arrive.
The takeaway here is that tooth decay is not something to view lightly. If you suspect a cavity in you or anyone else in your family, ask your dentist to look at it right away.
Posted on behalf of:
Bayshore Dental Center
810 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #2900
Seffner, FL 33584
Lollipops, caramels, chocolate – oh my! The list of snacks that promote tooth decay goes on and on. It’s not just limited to sweets, either. Foods containing simple carbohydrates like crackers and bagels and juice are also culprits.
The fact that there’s actually a kind of sugar out there that’s proven to help prevent cavities sounds ironic.
Xylitol is a specific type of sugar alcohol. It’s commonly derived from plant sources such as corn and used as a sugar alternative.
Xylitol benefits over regular sugar:
But what makes xylitol different?
First of all, it’s a carbohydrate that cavity-causing bacteria can’t digest. Those germs live off of the sugar you eat. So when that sugar is replaced by a kind they can’t break down, they starve to death.
Secondly, xylitol helps to deconstruct the “slime layer” that those bacteria live in. Without their sticky texture, they can’t adhere to teeth and cause cavities.
This sugar substitute can often be found on the shelves of health food stores, as well as specific types of gum.
But be careful – xylitol isn’t recommended in large amounts. Just as bacteria have a hard time digesting this substance, so do humans. Too much xylitol probably isn’t toxic, but it does act as a sort of laxative.
The best way to get the dental benefits of xylitol is to chew gum made with it. People with dry mouth especially like to munch on sweet things to encourage saliva flow. Xylitol sweets are the way to go!
In conjunction with daily brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings and checkups, xylitol can help prevent tooth decay. Find out more ways to lower your cavity risk by scheduling a visit with your local dentist.
Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
Often motivated by fear or a lack of time, a few brave souls try treating and preventing tooth decay through at-home methods they discovered on the Internet.
If you’re one to take your dental health into your own hands, you are to be commended for your initiative. But a word of caution is in order as most DIY dental remedies come at a steeper price than what you’d pay in a dental office.
Preventing Decay With Diet
Certain dental health advocates point to virtually cavity-free civilizations that don’t eat sugar as a sign that the correct diet can eliminate the need for fillings.
Cavities start when tooth enamel is demineralized by acids. These acids do come from broken-down sugars we eat. But actual tooth decay is propagated by bacteria found in every single human’s mouth.
As of yet, no human has been successfully in totally killing off these cavity-causing germs. Starving the bacteria through a strict low-carb diet can certainly help. But it isn’t always practical to go to dieting extremes which may cost a lot of money and time and impact your family’s nutritional health.
What About Oil-Pulling?
There are no scientifically documented benefits that oil-pulling will reduce decay. If you find that you enjoy the practice, that’s fine, you’re probably not in harm’s way. Just don’t let the oil-pulling craze distract you from methods that are proven to work: brushing, flossing, and fluoride.
DIY Filling Kits
These kits only provide temporary relief and protection for your tooth but should never be used to forestall getting professional tooth restoration treatment such as a composite filling or a dental crown. The cavity can still spread, potentially reaching a point of abscess.
Talk with your local dentist to learn some practical steps you can take at home to prevent decay.
Posted on behalf of:
Preston Sherry Dental Associates
6134 Sherry Ln
Dallas, TX 75225
Regular brushing with a fresh toothbrush is part of a good oral hygiene routine that will help prevent tooth decay and reduce the need for dental fillings, crowns, and other tooth restorations. Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles have become frayed or if you have been sick. Before you throw that old toothbrush away, why don’t you see if you can put your brush to use in one of these areas?
There’s nothing like a toothbrush to loosen grime trapped between tiles or even around the sink faucet. It’s especially effective when used with a cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar.
Toothbrush bristles are the ideal way to add some shine to your jewelry. Their small size makes them perfect for scrubbing the hard-to-reach inside of rings where dirt can accumulate. Use a jewelry cleaning chemical to treat your favorite treasures and then loosen debris with your old brush.
Need a way to dab just a little pre-treat laundry soap on your favorite blouse? Your old toothbrush makes the perfect applicator. It’s also good for scrubbing out isolated stains.
Lots of household appliances come with filters that you probably overlook more often than not. A good cleaning will keep your refrigerator or clothes dryer running smoothly. A toothbrush can not only nab gunk stuck in the screen of the filter, but it’s perfect for reaching the angles at the corners of the filter.
Naturally, you can’t retire your toothbrush without having another at the ready to take its place. Use this opportunity to find a brush you’ll love even more. Schedule a dental appointment and ask your dentist for some tips on selecting a new toothbrush that suits your smile care needs.
Posted on behalf of:
The Newport Beach Dentist
1901 Westcliff Drive #6
Newport Beach, CA 92660
If your history is marked with more dental procedures than any other memory, then it’s a great idea to take steps that lower your cavity risk! Here are ten tips to help prevent tooth decay and avoid the need for fillings, crowns and other tooth restorations
Cut out sweet drinks. Sipping on sugary coffee, soda, or juice on a daily basis is basically soaking your teeth in enamel-eating acids.
Keep your mouth hydrated. A dry mouth is a playground for cavity-causing bacteria. Drink lots of water and chew sugarless gum to keep your saliva flow going strong.
Switch to whole grains. Simple sugars are the main fuel for enamel-eroding bacteria. High-fiber foods and complex carbs are good for your body in general and don’t stick around in the mouth to create sticky plaque.
Eat fresh, whole food snacks. Opt for fresh veggies and fibrous fruits like apples over chips and cookies. These will help to naturally cleanse your mouth.
Fluoride, fluoride, fluoride. Need we say more? Use a rinse daily and take advantage of any professional fluoride treatments your office provides.
Brush/floss even more. No matter how often you brush or floss, try to do it a little more frequently.
Get sealants. They’re not just for kids! Dental sealants prevent decay from starting in the grooves on molars.
Eat dairy. Cheese and milk neutralize acids in the mouth and fortify teeth against decay.
Rinse often. Don’t take any chances – rinse your mouth with water after every meal or snack.
See your dentist regularly. Never skip an appointment. Regular exams and yearly x-rays are key to detecting the signs of decay and stopping it before it can cause too much trouble.
Posted on behalf of:
481 Garrisonville Rd. #105
Stafford, VA 22554
“Soft enamel” is one of those myths that people still believe in today.
It’s tempting to blame poor oral health on genetics.
But if you think that tooth decay runs in your family because of weak enamel, then you may be surprised to learn the truth.
Is Soft Enamel a Real Thing?
Yes, it is possible to have weak enamel. But it’s a very rare condition, called amelogenesis imperfecta. It’s a developmental defect in which enamel doesn’t properly form. If you had this condition, you would notice that your teeth look brown, mottled, pitted, and splotchy.
If you had this condition, you would likely already know it. But it doesn’t hurt to have your dentist check your teeth to make sure.
The Real Cause of Tooth Decay
While it’s possible for some people to have an enamel defect making their teeth prone to cavities, the biggest factor behind decay is controllable.
You could be actively weakening your enamel by regularly exposing your teeth to acids in your diet.
Soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, wine, tea, and coffee are all acidic beverages that can wear down tooth enamel over time. Regularly sipping on virtually anything other than water puts your teeth at risk of decay since weak enamel lets cavity-causing bacteria attack your teeth.
How to Prevent Cavities
You can help prevent tooth decay and the need for dental restorations such as fillings and crowns by limiting how often you enjoy acidic or sugary drinks and shortening the amount of time it takes you to finish one. This will reduce the length of time your enamel is weakened by acid.
Remineralizing toothpastes and rinses containing fluoride are a great way to strengthen “soft” enamel. Ask your dentist for more ways to lower your risk for tooth decay.
Posted on behalf of:
1257 Annapolis Rd.
Odenton, MD 21113
Why, oh why, do we have such a love-hate relationship with beverages?
In the non-stop pace of daily life, we’ve come to depend on the sugary and energizing drinks that are so readily available to us. The issue is simply that the most popular (and tastiest) beverages tend to be the worst for our teeth. They cause tooth enamel erosion leading to tooth decay. You can avoid unnecessary dental work such as fillings and crowns by limiting your consumption of certain beverages.
Take a look at just three examples:
We all know sugary soda is bad news for teeth. But did you realize just how bad? Other tooth-harming ingredients in soda include:
This makes for a powerhouse combination of enamel-eaters!
Because sports drinks tend to be affiliated with physical activity, people tend to think that they are a healthy drink option.
Actually, they’re intended for cases of dehydration, which is why they’re loaded with sugar. That, in turn, is what increases the chance of tooth decay. On top of this, these liquids are also packed with citric acid which is also bad for enamel (it’s even worse than soda.)
How many sugary iced lattes do you sip on throughout the day?
Even if you take your coffee straight up, you aren’t sparing yourself the acidic effect it has on tooth enamel. Also, whether you like your coffee plain or loaded with cream, the dark pigments will leave a stain.
These drinks in moderation keep life interesting. But the next time you crave a pick-me-up, why not give your body what it needs? Good old water!
Get tips on making smile-smart drink choices. Check in with your local dentist to find out how you can keep your teeth strong, clean, and cavity-resistant.
Posted on behalf of:
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
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