If you thought that brushing and flossing were the only ways to prevent tooth decay, think again. Have you ever wondered why we get tooth decay from the foods we eat? On his travels around the world, Dr Weston Price made an interesting discovery.
He spent much of his time visiting and studying tribes which still lived according to their traditional ways. Most of these tribes people had absolutely perfect teeth despite a lack of access to dentistry. However, if they began to eat a typical Western diet, tooth decay would set in.
Sugar and Starch
Tooth decay is largely caused by the amount of sugar and starch we consume. The bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive on these food residues and give off acidic compounds that cause damage to our tooth enamel.
Sugar and starch are big culprits in causing tooth decay, but other factors also come into play. For example:
• A diet that is deficient in the minerals we need for healthy teeth and bones, particularly magnesium and calcium will make us susceptible to tooth decay.
• Vitamins also play a role. Our bodies need sufficient fat soluble vitamins (A,D, E and K) to stay healthy, and they also play an important role in preventing tooth decay.
• Acidic plant-based foods can also contribute if eaten in excess.
While this information is interesting, and is useful up to a point, most of us wouldn’t want to restrict our diets to any great degree. However, we can at least be aware of cavity causing foods and keep consumption to a minimum.
Need we say it? Brush and floss twice a day. Fluoride toothpaste can help to strengthen teeth, so choose a toothpaste with fluoride. Other tips include:
• Keeping sugary snacks for very special occasions.
• Reduce snacks between meals, particularly processed foods such as bread.
• Although fruit juice isn’t as bad for our teeth as sugary drinks, it is acidic. Limit how much juice you consume, and use a s drinking straw to reduce contact with teeth.
• Never eat after brushing your teeth at night. There is less saliva to protect your teeth against acids while you are asleep.
• Keep up 6 monthly dental appointments and visit for a periodical scale and polish on your Royal Centre Dental Group dentist’s recommendation.
An extra layer of protection over your teeth can protect them against decay. Sealants are used on the chewing surfaces of molars giving bacteria less place to hide and less exposed tooth to attack. It is best to apply sealants as soon as children have permanent teeth, but they can still be applied to teeth during adolescence.
Adults with healthy teeth that have many grooves, fissures or pits in their teeth can also receive sealants to help combat tooth decay. Remember that sealants only protect certain surfaces, so your oral hygiene program remains the same as it was before.
Although sealants are a relatively new technology, they have been in use since the seventies and have proven effective in reducing cavities.
If you would like to know more about dental sealants for yourself or your children, feel free to contact our offices for more information.