reduce your risk for getting Cavities?
If you have
had more than 1 cavity in the last 12 months, you are at risk for getting new
cavities. This has many causes related
to: frequency of snacking, drinking beverages that are acidic and or contain a fermentable
carbohydrate, medications which produce dry mouth, smoking, stress and
reduction in saliva.
is key to defending against the bacteria which cause decay. Not only does it help with eating and
swallowing, it provides buffering capabilities to reduce the acids in your
mouth, as well as enzymes which help to digest starch.
the saliva can’t buffer well, which allows more acids to predominate in the
oral cavity which promotes the growth of cavity causing bacteria. Add a few sugary or starchy snacks, and you
now have a recipe for disaster. What to
Dr. Keen has
provided a plan which will help to regulate the acid levels in the mouth, and
provide extra protection to the enamel and root surfaces.
1. Toothpaste. Either use the Arm and Hammer Complete care
with enamel strengthening or dip you favorite fluoride containing toothpaste in
baking soda. Baking soda is great for
maintaining neutral saliva and helps the teeth to uptake the fluoride, and
calcium, which are necessary building blocks of tooth enamel.
2. Toothbrush. Sonicare makes an excellent toothbrush which
through it ultrasonic action allows the fluoride and calcium ions to penetrate
deeper into the hard surfaces of your teeth.
Brush 2 times a day, preferably after breakfast. Try not to brush within 30 minutes of
consuming an acidic beverage.
3. Anticavity rinse after brushing. Rinse with an anticavity rinse with fluoride
after brushing. Several brands are
available: ACT, Prevident are 2. Don’t
buy rinses that contain alcohol. Daily
use of alcohol rinses can increase your risk for getting oral cancer.
4. Xylitol- this is a sweetener that has
been around since the 50’s, but has received much attention lately. Originally found in the bark of a tree, it
helps to regulate your mouth’s acid levels and turns off the cavity causing
bacteria-they can’t produce the acid which causes tooth decay. In order to provide maximum benefit, you will
need to consume between 3 to 5 grams of xylitol daily. This can be accomplished with mouth rinses,
gum, candy and it is also provided as a sugar form which can be added to food
or beverages. It tastes delicious, very
close to the taste of real sugar. Ice
cubes brand gum contains 1 gr. Of xylitol per piece. 5 grams=1 teaspoon. Spry company makes candies, rinses and
toothpastes. Dr. John’s makes xylitol
lollipops as well as an herbal lollipop which will also further help to reduce
dental decay. A study done at UCLA
showed a 20% reduction in decay rates among the population tested, using the
herbal lollipops. They taste great and
kids won’t notice the added herbal component.
Stores that sell xylitol: Target and CVS sell Ice Cubes gum; Smart and
Final sell a mint called “Smints” which has xyliton. Sprouts, whole foods, both sell xylitol gum,
xylitol sugar. Spry and Dr. johns
candies can be purchased online.
5. Diet - Most of the healthy food
choices in our diets are loaded with acid and or sugar. From Chinese food sauces to ice tea, energy
drinks etc. They all cause
cavities. There is a table published on
line titled: “Drinks that Eat teeth” To
sum it up, all drinks that contain citric acid as a preservative will cause a
rise in acid levels. The best drinks are
water-we should be drinking a lot more of it, iced tea- fresh brewed and unsweetened,
carbonated water. Coffee can also be
very acidic, depending on where the coffee originates. Most Indonesian and Sumatra coffees are
fairly low in acid. Green tea is
beneficial both for its low acid level, but it also has a natural source of
fluoride, and has strong anti-oxidant properties. Foods that contain arginine are also tooth
friendly: nuts, dark veggies are some examples.
Aged cheese when combined with a fruit snack can reduce the acid levels
from the fruit, and it also has a natural source of free calcium and enzymes
which help to reduce the sugars. Avoid a
lot of starchy snacks, especially at night where the starch can sit on the
teeth during sleep. If you must have a
late night snack, eat popcorn. If you
eat a meal, rich in acidic foods such as; tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, white
wine, rinse afterwards with a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of
water. Wait 30 minutes before brushing,
as all that acid has softened the hard enamel and you will brush away the
6. Professional hygiene visits: the standard cleaning interval is 6 months
for healthy teeth and gums. If you are
at risk, consider an additional cleaning along with a fluoride treatment. We use the latest in fluoride technology,
which is a varnish that has staying power to allow more fluoride to reabsorb
into the enamel. The cavity process
pulls both fluoride and calcium out of the enamel and replenishment if
necessary to rebuild and strengthen enamel.
7. Dry mouth-there are many ways to help manage
dry mouth. Please feel free to contact
our office or ask our staff at your next visit and we can custom design a
program that will help to manage your teeth and help with the dry mouth