How To Never Have A Cavity Again
Meet Grug. Grug has better teeth than you. Not because they look better, but because of what he eats. Grug is from the Stone Age, also known as the Neolithic period. Yes, it’s true—cavemen had fewer cavities than modern humans.
The big difference between Grug’s diet and your diet is that his is low in carbohydrates and sugars. How do we know this? A recent study shows that during the transition from the hunter-gatherer diet to the agricultural diet, the bacteria in our mouths changed drastically. Our oral ecosystems became even worse during the industrial revolution when refined sugars and carbohydrates became widespread.
The War In Your Mouth
A cavity (a.k.a decay or ‘caries’) is a hole in your tooth caused by acid erosion. Each day a war is waged in your mouth with bacteria/plaque on one side and your mineral-rich saliva on the other. Every time you eat something starchy or sugary, bacteria/plaque produces an enamel-destroying acid. Luckily, the calcium and phosphate in your saliva help your tooth rebuild itself after one of these acid attacks. Decay happens when acid attacks happen too frequently, or are too strong to be countered by the rebuilding process. So, in a nutshell, if you eat sugar/starch many times throughout the day, or if you suffer from dry mouth, or if you snack before you go to sleep, you are lining yourself up for a cavity.
The Good News
The good news is: CAVITIES ARE 100% PREVENTABLE. If you don’t like getting needles, spending time in a dentist’s office or the extra cost associated with getting your cavity filled, there are things that you can do to never have a cavity again. Thanks to the saliva-fueled defense your body mounts against these evil acids, a cavity takes months to form. During this time, you can boost your defensive powers in a few different ways:
#1: Brush your teeth
I know, I know, you’ve heard this all before. But seriously, this is the reason why you keep hearing that you need to do this. Brushing your teeth gets rid of the starch and sugars from your food so the bacteria can’t use it to make acid.
#2: Floss your teeth
And yes, another thing you have heard your whole life. Flossing gets into the places your toothbrush can’t go. So you really do need to do it if you don’t want to have cavities.
#3: Use Fluoride
Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel (the hard white stuff on the outside of your teeth). It’s like arming your teeth with tiny acid fighting body shields. During your routine dental cleaning, your hygienist will apply fluoride to your teeth. You can also use a toothpaste containing fluoride.
#4: Eat Less Sugar & Carbs
You don’t have to go full paleo diet to reap the benefits of Grug’s way of life. Just decrease the frequency and quantity of the sweet/starchy things you eat. Cut down on pop, juice and sugary coffees as well as candy and sweets. And be sure to let toothpaste and mouthwash be the last things to coat your teeth before you go to sleep.
So there you have it: a fool-proof way to prevent cavities for the rest of your natural life. But, if rigorous dental hygiene and cutting down on sweets is a not-so-sweet option for you, be sure to have regular dental exams and x-rays to check for the beginning of decay. If you catch it early enough, you can reverse a cavity before it happens.
If you haven’t had an exam in a while, give our office a call! It’s never too late to get into a preventative tooth care routine. We’d love to help you keep your teeth healthy and win the war in your mouth.