An important factor to discuss to maintain healthy teeth over time is risk. What puts you at risk for decay and how can you reduce that risk?

There are many environmental factors that play a role in a patient’s risk for erosion and decay. Erosion is wearing away of the teeth because of high acid production. Decay is the destruction of the tooth as a result of bacterial organisms found in plaque.

Some patients may be more decay prone than others. This could be a result of the patient’s diet or the bacteria present in the patient’s oral cavity. Some patients are infected with more acid producing bacteria that result in decay. Saliva is extremely important for maintaining healthy tissue, balancing the pH in the mouth (buffering the acid) and protecting the teeth from decay causing bacteria. Medications can cause dry mouth and result in a higher risk for decay or erosion.

Patients who suffer from acid reflux may present with erosion of the back molars. Our teeth are made hard on the outside and softer on the inside. When erosion occurs, the outer (hard) surface of the tooth wears away and the inner (soft) portion of the tooth is exposed. This soft portion of the tooth is now exposed and more susceptible to further erosion, and decay. The dentist can evaluate your teeth for the potential need for an acid resistant filling to protect the eroded teeth.

What can you do to minimize your risk for decay or erosion?

A healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables has an overall effect on the health and strength of the gum tissue, teeth, jaw bones and saliva. The acids produced from some dietary habits (soft drinks and juices) can imbalance the pH levels in our mouth and create an acidic environment, weakening the tooth and possibly causing tooth erosion. The presence of high sugars in our diets contributes to the production of dental decay. It is recommended to limit your intake of high sugar between meals.

Dietary Suggestions to reduce your risk for decay:

  • Use toothpaste with fluoride
  • Eat a balanced diet full of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
  • If you drinks
    sweet/acidic beverages such as juice or pop, drink it all in one sitting (rather than sipping it through the day) and swish vigorously with water for 30 sec after. Avoid brushing your teeth right after drinking something acidic.
  • Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to increase salivary flow and help buffer acid
  • Avoid putting an infant or child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice

Products to help reduce your risk for decay or erosion:

At Karmazin Dental, we recommend the use of Cari-free products. These products have a pH balanced technology that neutralizes the pH in the mouth. Bacteria thrive in an acidic environment. Using a mouth rinse that buffers the acid can help reduce the growth and overpopulation of these bacteria. These products also include Xylitol, a natural sweetener that starves the bacteria that cause decay. Fluoride is incorporated into the products to remineralize decay (strengthening enamel). Please see our “product descriptions” page for a full list of products that can help promote a healthy mouth!

 

References

*ADA- American Dental Association

*PDA- Productive Dentist Academy -Biomechanical Risk