Tips to Reduce Dental Cavities
By Mina Levi DDS, 12/05/2013
When we think of cavities in the mouth, we immediately think that the teeth brushing routine has been poorly implemented and that must be the only reason. However, there are quite a few components that go into the cause of dental caries and along with them come a few ways to reduce their occurrence. Visiting the Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS is the most important aspect of keeping cavities out of the mouth. Below, we discuss the components that lead to caries and how to avoid them.
1. Diet and Sugar Intake. When a person ingests carbohydrates (sugars), the bacteria in the mouth produce acid as they break down and metabolize these sugars. This acid causes dental caries and deepens the cavity over time with exposure, so-called tooth de-calcification.
2. Oral Hygiene. Yes, we have been told over and over again that if you don't have a proper oral hygiene regimen, that you will see decay in your teeth. This not only means brushing often, but also includes brushing correctly, using dental floss, and properly cleaning the tongue. Another important aspect of oral hygiene is to get your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by the Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi DDS.
3. Genes and the Strength of the Enamel. Sometimes, unfortunately, we inherit genes that give us weakened enamel without any fault of our own. Enamel is the hard substance that makes up the outside of the teeth, and protects the tooth structure from bacteria and decay. If enamel is weak or is weakened, dental caries will be more prominent.
Tips to reduce caries:
1. Use Xylitol products. Xylitol is a sweet, white substance that looks and tastes like sugar, but has 40% fewer calories than sucrose and is diabetic-friendly. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in the fibers of fruits and vegetables like corn, berries and mushrooms, and the wood of trees like the birch. It is even produces naturally in small amounts by our bodies. Unlike sugar, it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva and also acts against some bacteria that cause ear infections. Xylitol not only rids the mouth of sticky harmful bacteria, it actually promotes the growth of tooth-protective, non-acidic bacteria. Plaque bacteria use sucrose and carbohydrates from our diet to grow and multiple. They create sticky threads that allow them to attach to the tooth surface and each other to form thick layers and acids that damage teeth. When plaque bacteria absorb Xylitol, they cannot multiply, produce acids, or stick to teeth. Using products like Oxyfresh toothpaste and mouthwash and chewing Spry gum means less plaque will form on teeth, and eventually plaque bacteria may be undetectable in the mouth. Xylitol also raises mouth pH and encourages mineral-rich saliva to flow into the mouth. This can protect and re-mineralize teeth by repairing the deep layers of enamel.
2. Using MI Paste or "Liquid Tooth". Saliva helps provide essential minerals that strengthen teeth and protect enamel. MI Paste is a product that helps release these vital minerals and stimulates saliva flow in the mouth, which helps strengthen enamel and prevent cavities from forming so easily. MI Paste uses calcium phosphopeptides that are derived from milk casein, and is ideal for buffering acids produced by bacteria and plaque, comforting dry mouth, minimizing tooth sensitivity before and after cleanings, and reducing high oral acid levels.
3. Reducing Carbohydrate Intake. Carbohydrates are sugars, which stimulate acid release in our mouths when we consume them and cause cavities. Women should try to reduce their added sugar intake to no more than six teaspoons per day and men should try to reduce their added sugar intake to no more than nine teaspoons per day. Reducing sugar intake will also reduce the acid production by bacteria in the mouth and thus, reduce the presence of dental caries.
4. Dental Visits. The most important tip to reduce the prominence of dental caries in the mouth is to visit the dentist regularly. It is normally recommended to have a professional cleaning and exam done about twice per year. These exams and cleanings remove built-up plaque and calculus from the mouth and reduce the amount of bacteria that cause dental caries.
For more information regarding how to reduce and prevent cavities from forming, give us a call at (415) 513-5066.
Topics: Dentist San Francisco, Dental Caries, Cavities, Dental Plaque, Oral Health, Oral Bacteria, Cleanings and Exams, Xylitol, MI Paste, Tooth Mineralization, Tooth Decalcification