Cavities are formed mainly due to the acids that are present in your mouth. This may come as a bit of a surprise, as many of us have been taught to limit sugars for cavity prevention. The unfortunate reality is, we need to limit sugars AND acids. Here’s why:
There are a lot of bacteria living in your mouth. These bacteria eat sugars. This includes added sugars as well as natural sugars found in starchy foods, fruit and other whole foods. The sugars from these leftover food particles are consumed. In the process, bacteria create an acidic byproduct, which gets on your teeth and erodes the enamel until a hole is formed. That hole is a cavity.
Acids from foods can also cause enamel erosion more directly. Stay strong! You should avoid sports and energy drinks, for example, because they are full of both sugars and acids.
Right after eating, your enamel has been slightly softened from the acids in your food. During this time your tooth enamel is very sensitive to abrasion, so an act like brushing your teeth can be very dangerous. Because of this, it is best not to brush immediately after eating (unless directed to by your dentist). Instead, chew on sugarless gum to stimulate excess saliva, which cleans your teeth and neutralizes acids. This prepares them for brushing thoroughly later that day.
For more information, call Blue Stream Dental in Kansas City, Missouri, at 816-569-9787. Dr. William D. Ledford and our team are happy to help!