Prevent Tooth Decay
In order to prevent tooth decay, it is important to identify factors that may play a role. Tooth decay is caused when the oral environment in the mouth allows for infectious bacteria to enter through the process of demineralization. This occurs when the normal healthy bacteria in the mouth are replaced by acid-producing bacteria. The shift in bacteria is primarily caused by several factors such as a prolonged acidic oral environment due to lack of saliva, a sugary/acidic diet that favors acid-producing bacteria, and through transmission from other people. Yes, this infection is contagious! You can be infected by someone through the exchange of saliva. The process of tooth decay will then begin within minutes after the formation of acid and can take up to several hours before it is neutralized in the mouth.
Testing the pH of Your Saliva
Here at My DFW Dentist, we offer a simple test to determine the pH of your saliva. Thorough understanding of what range your saliva is and your lifestyle will help our team determine your risk of getting tooth decay and the likelihood of developing other dental problems. The lower the pH of your saliva, the more acidic your saliva will run and start the process of dental caries. It is important to also understand that there are several factors that can cause the pH of your saliva to change. Some examples include the food you eat, the beverages that you drink, and even the medications that you take. Achieving a healthy pH of your saliva will prevent tooth decay as well as improve the sustainability of current and future restorations. If our team determines that you are at risk, we will give you the tools needed to help you achieve the recommended pH range to stabilize your oral cavity for a healthier mouth and body! Our goal here at My DFW Dentist is to give you a lifetime full of smiles.
One of the best tips that we give our patients to help stabilize the pH of your saliva can be found right in your kitchen! That’s right; the key ingredient is baking soda. Baking soda is a great product to help neutralize your saliva. By adding just 1/8 of a tsp. of baking soda into your mouthwash and rinsing with it for 30 sec. at least three times a day, you will automatically notice the change in the pH of your saliva.
Winning the Battle against Tooth Decay
- Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once daily to remove plaque can help prevent tooth caries.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristle becomes frayed. Children’s toothbrushes often will need to be replaced more frequently.
- Schedule regular dental examinations and cleanings; it is recommended to have your professional cleanings and exams a minimum of two times a year. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove calculus and plaque along the gum line, which will prevent bacteria that causes tooth decay.
- At your exams, get the necessary x-rays recommended by your dentist to determine whether tooth decay is present, assess for possible gum disease, and to evaluate the growth and development of your teeth.
- Talk with your dentist about sealants and other ways to keep your smile healthy. Children and teenagers are obvious candidates for sealants. But adults can also benefit from sealants too because one never outgrows tooth decay.
- High risk patients should have regular in-office fluoride treatments. Getting fluoride treatments as recommended by your hygienist/dentist will help to strengthen your teeth’s defense against decay.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks, to help reduce your risk of developing cavities.
- Limit sugary/carbohydrate drinks. Even non-sugar containing acidic beverages (examples include: diet soda, coffee, tea, sparkling water, alcohol). It is these items in the diet that can cause intense or long-lasting acidic pH in the mouth resulting in the death of healthy bacteria and cavity-causing bacteria to thrive, thus leading to a caries infection.
- Chewing xylitol gum, at least two-three times a day, can help in the battle against tooth decay by significantly decreasing plaque accumulation. With proper use, xylitol actually stops the process that leads to tooth decay.
- Visit My DFW Dentist for additional take home aids to help minimize your risk for developing tooth decay such as prescription fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses.
MI paste is another great aid to help in the battle against tooth decay. This product is not toothpaste but is more like a tooth cream that can be applied on your teeth. This is the only product for professional use that contains the active ingredient RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP), a special milk-derived phosphopeptide that binds calcium and phosphate to tooth surfaces, plaque, and surrounding soft tissue.This product helps to restore the minerals back into your teeth by replacing the imbalances with calcium and phosphate. In addition, MI Paste has many other great benefits:
- Helps improve saliva flow (for patients that experience dry mouth due to certain medications)
- Boosts fluoride uptake
- Improves pH of saliva by buffering the acids that are produced by bacteria and plaque
- Soothes sensitive tooth surfaces resulting from root exposure and whitening
- Creates a healthy oral environment and can even reverse and prevent white spot lesions that could occur during orthodontics.
- A great product to condition, protect and rebuild tooth surfaces!