While it may be strange to think about, it’s true that our mouths are full of bacteria. Some of those bacteria are actually beneficial to our health and aid in digestion. Others are not so beneficial, especially a common one called Streptococcus mutans. This is the kind of bacteria that produces acids in your mouth that can erode tooth enamel and give you cavities. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but over time, the acids can wear it away, exposing the dentin, the softer inner tissue of your teeth.
Your body does have a natural defense against the acids in the form of saliva. More than just a mouth lubricant, saliva contains calcium and phosphate, the minerals that make up your tooth enamel. Especially with a little assistance from fluoride, enamel is able to repair itself by replacing the minerals lost to the acid. Throughout the day, our teeth are “demineralizing” and “remineralizing.”
Here are some other tips from your Scottsdale dentist on how to restore the balance:
- Limit between-meal snacks. This will decrease the number of acid attacks your teeth must endure throughout the day.
- If you can’t brush right away after eating or drinking something sugary or starchy, drink water to help rinse away debris. If the water is fluoridated, that’s even better.
- Save the sugary treats for special occasions.
- Limit fruit juice. Even the brands with no added sugar still have a lot of natural sugar in them.
- During sleep, saliva production decreases, which leaves your teeth more vulnerable to acids, so it’s important to nix the sugar after you’ve brushed your teeth at night.
The absolute best way to protect your teeth from decay is to brush at least twice daily and floss at least once. Having great oral hygiene habits and following these tips will help your teeth fend off the acids and prevent decay. It’s also important to see your Arizona dentist regularly, so if it’s time for a checkup, call today to make an appointment.