With spring in full swing, it’s time to check in with your goals you started at the beginning of the year. This is a reminder to refresh your hygiene routine and establish healthy habits, like drinking more water, to create the best version of yourself for the upcoming summer season. Water is not only important for preventing dehydration, detoxing the body, and weight loss, but also extremely important for your oral health. Did you know that by drinking more water you could prevent cavities? Water is one of the major components of your saliva, which acts as a buffer against the acid levels in your mouth. How is this related to cavities?
Our mouths host millions of species of bacteria that are competing to survive. Every time we eat refined carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, we provide food to these organisms, specifically the Streptococcus Mutans species, which is the main culprit of cavities. So, living in the plaque in between your teeth are millions of bacteria that eat the same foods you eat and produce acid as a byproduct or waste. This bacterial waste demineralizes the enamel and creates small holes or cavities in the teeth. There are three ways we can prevent this process from happening. First, we need to reduce the number of bacteria around the teeth by flossing and brushing every day and getting professional dental cleanings regularly. Second, we can reduce the number of times we feed the bacteria by snacking less in between meals and choosing healthier food items. Finally, we can increase our saliva by drinking more water to increase the pH of our oral cavities. The current recommendation by the American Dental Association is to snack less than three times a day, chew xylitol gum to increase saliva production, and drink more water throughout the day!
You might be wondering if there is any way to strengthen the enamel to protect it from all the acidity produced by bacteria and the foods we ingest. The answer is fluoride! Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that was added to our public water as a public health measure. It has been one of the most important public health orders that has significantly reduced dental disease in the United States. Fluoride attaches to the calcium and phosphate that make up the enamel of our teeth, forming fluorapetite, which is less resistant to acid attack. Nowadays, we can prescribe prescription strength fluoride toothpaste and apply fluoride varnish to help strengthen the enamel of the teeth, making it less easily penetrable.
Each person has a certain level of risk for getting cavities, and by assessing your hygiene and nutrition habits, we can determine the best plan of action to stop the development of cavities and get you back on track. With regular dental cleanings, nutrition counseling and hygiene instructions, you can lower your risk for cavities significantly. Please call us at (818) 776-1236 to get your teeth checked, and ask me how you can prevent getting new cavities. I hope these tips give you more insight on how take better care of your oral health. Call or email us at [email protected] to schedule your next visit at our office!
Dr. Argina Kudaverdian