If you practice moderation in your diet, and follow that up with good oral hygiene, occasional dessert indulgences aren’t likely to cause a big problem with tooth decay. Sometimes it’s hidden sugar, and hidden acid, that can be a real issue for your pearly whites. Even health conscious patients can hear the words “you have a cavity” when they go to the dentist. Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans, your Reno dentists, reveal some hidden culprits that can wreak havoc on your teeth.
How Does Acid Get Into Our Mouths
We are not born with Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Generally, babies pick up the bacteria from their parents and loved ones through kissing and sharing food. Once the bacteria are present in our mouths, they need to eat to survive. Their fuel of choice is sugar. Many people think that sugar directly causes cavities. In fact, S. mutans consume the sugar you eat, and then produce metabolic waste in the form of lactic acid.
Dietary Acid Damages Tooth Enamel
Diet sodas used to be considered healthy beverages. Over time, we’ve learned that there might be problems with artificial sweeteners causing more harm than good. In fact, studies show that regular diet drink consumers actually tend to hold on to more weight than those that stay away from diet soda. It seems that by fooling your body into thinking its consuming sugar, cravings for unhealthy foods abound. In regards to your oral health, diet sodas are simply terrible for your teeth. Their high-acidity softens tooth enamel, providing a super-highway for decay. Other acidic beverages include white wine, sports drinks, and lemon-flavored iced teas. Going easy on these thirst quenchers will make it harder for the bacteria that cause tooth decay to get through your tooth enamel.
Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and giving S. mutans as little sugar to snack on as possible will all help stave off tooth decay. However, the plaque and tartar that form when S. mutans meld with food particles is somewhat inevitable, no matter how diligent you are in your brushing habits. Brushing too vigorously can damage tooth enamel anyway. The best practice is to strike a balance between your personal oral hygiene regimen, and cleanings and checkups with your dentist every six months. To schedule an exam with our Reno dentist office call us at 775-829-7700. We are happy to provide comprehensive dentistry to patients in the 89502 zip code, and surrounding communities.