The Tooth Decay Triad

Once again the ongoing blog of your dentist in West St. Paul MN at Serafimov Dental is here to keep the magnificent people of our city up to date and in the know about family dentistry and oral health care. The health of your mouth is vital to maintaining the health of your entire body. Very few things affect your health more than what you eat and drink, and it all comes in through your mouth. So, your ability to chew healthy foods is one of the most important aspects of your overall health, not just your oral.

The greatest concern when it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums is tooth decay, with gum disease running a close second. Tooth decay, if not treated right away, can lead to a number of oral ailments, like infections and tooth loss. If your teeth succumb to the ravages of decay, then the health of your whole body is put at risk.

Of course, the best way to treat tooth decay is to prevent it from ever happening and to do that you have to understand what causes it. Typically, people put the brunt of the blame for tooth decay on sugar consumption, and sugar definitely is a major contributor to tooth decay. But if you are only avoiding sugar to prevent tooth decay, you are not doing enough.

Sugar is only part of the equation that equals tooth decay. There are actually three main contributors, and they are bacteria, sugar, and acid. The triad of tooth decay!

The True Cause of Tooth Decay

Bacteria – There is a type of bacteria everyone has in their mouth, and it is called dental caries. Even though we are not born with dental caries, almost everyone gets it as a baby by sharing food and utensils with other kids and their parents.

Once you have dental caries, it is nearly impossible to get rid of, but it fairly easy to control. With a healthy diet and proper oral hygiene, you can stop dental caries from damaging your teeth.

Sugar – The bacteria known as dental caries loves sugar, in fact, sugar is dental caries primary food source. This is where the problem occurs. When the bacteria consumes the sugar, it converts it into acid. That is when tooth decay truly begins.

This acid excreted by dental caries is very corrosive to tooth enamel, and if it is left on your teeth, it will eat through your enamel. At first, it might just be a tiny cavity, but that can grow into a big one until the decay spreads to the center of your tooth, where nerves and blood vessels reside in the pulp. Ultimately if this decay is left unchecked, your tooth will be severely damaged, and you could end up losing it.

Acid – In addition to the acid produced from the union of dental caries and sugar, food acids, natural and not-so-natural, are a real threat to your teeth. The acid found in food weakens tooth enamel, making it more vulnerable to oral health issues, like tooth decay and staining.

Very often, sugar and acid come packaged together, in soft drinks, for example, and even healthy foods, like fruit. When you get sugar, acid, and dental caries together, you have a real recipe for tooth decay, and unless you take steps to counter their ill effects, your oral health will pay the price.

What is the most important thing your can do to protect your oral health?

As we mentioned before, prevention is the best form of treatment when it comes to dental care. Avoiding sugary foods is great, but you have to watch out for the acid, too. For instance, diet sodas do not contain sugar, but they are loaded with phosphoric and citric acid, which are just as bad for your teeth.

Drink lots of water – Drinking plenty of water might be the single most important thing you can do for your oral health. It rinses sugar and bacteria out of your mouth while negating the effects of food acid. That is why it is important to drink water after eating, especially after eating something high in sugar and acid, like an orange.

Brush and floss – A healthy oral hygiene routine is essential for taking care of your teeth, as well. This includes brushing and flossing twice a day, but it also includes regular visits to Serafimov Dental for cleanings and examinations.

Visit your dentist in West St. Paul soon and often and your teeth will stay healthy and bright.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.