- The amount of time that teeth are exposed to sugar is more of a risk than the total amount of sugar. These bacteria can only convert a certain amount of sugar at a time so even a highly sugary drink finished quickly will convert to less acid than if it is sipped over a long period of time.
- Natural sugars (cane sugar, honey, etc) and simple carbohydrates (white bread, crackers, cereal) convert to acid and cause decay just like processed sugar or corn syrup. The bacteria don’t discriminate on whether the sugar is natural or from Whole Foods. Enzymes in your saliva convert simple carbohydrates to sugars right in your mouth.
- Fluoride exposure to your teeth temporarily increases their resistance to acid. Fluoride exposure from toothpaste, varnish or gel applied at the dentist, or in drinking water all do this. Like the sugar exposure, time is more important than the total amount so using a fluoride tooth paste is a great way to prevent tooth decay.
- Dry Mouth is a major risk factor for tooth decay. A reduction in saliva flow is common as we get older, and is also a very common side effect from many prescription medications. With less saliva, your teeth get less protection.
- Most tooth decay is not symptomatic until the decay approaching the nerve at the center of the tooth. Get regular checkups and x-rays to catch cavities early. This allows you to benefit from early intervention like small fillings or fluoride treatments instead of more involved treatment like root canals.
Parkland Pacific Dental