WHAT CAUSES A CAVITY?
The what and whys of dental problems
Dr. Ken Yabuki
Cavities are one of the most common forms of oral health problems. How it actually forms is a combination of genetics and how your body reacts to particular bacteria that is resident in everyone’s mouth. Those bacteria’s are called Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli. Like any bacteria, it’s growth is promoted or rejected based on the acidity of the body in combination with a food source to grow on.
You have heard that sugar is bad for your teeth and for decades dentists have been pushing the idea that consuming sugary drinks and foods is a bad idea for dental health. A suggestion the sweet tooth generation usually ignores. But why is sugar, in particular, bad?
In simple terms: Sugar feeds bacteria. In the right oral environment, bacteria forms an acid that removes your teeth’s valuable minerals, weakening the strong structure of each tooth. Eventually causing a hole in the tooth. That hole is a cavity.
This process is worse in individuals that have a highly acidic body chemistry, as acidity is the perfect growing environment for the bacteria. This is where genetics kicks in. Some persons are naturally geared toward an acidic chemistry, while others, through nature or nutritional efforts, create a Alkali environment through-out the body. This explains why some person seem to get cavities easily, while others go years without a single problem. They will still get them..it is just slower, if oral health habit are not applied.
So What Can You Do?
The fundamental line of defense, is to change the oral environment, inhibiting the growth of the bacteria. This is achieved by:
1. Removing excess food after eating through brushing and flossing
2. Removing the sugars from the mouth through brushing
3. Avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks
4. Getting your teeth cleaned by a professional hygienist
Why Dental Cleanings?
The last recommended item, may not make sense to you..why professional cleaning? Does not steps 1-3, outlined above, do the job? Why are you up-selling me?
True, 1-3 will definitely help, however, stage 2 of oral bacteria is to build it’s own environmental “Wall”. Bacteria is a illegal immigrant that really does not want to leave. It own existence depends on building roots. You are demanding it’s death for your own protection. Despite all your best efforts, not all bacterial generated plague, will be removed. It can hide below the gum line, in back of the mouth, places that are difficult to self-access, especially in the world of ever pressed schedules.
Brushing and flossing is something everyone does fast and quick. Who has time for twice daily, 32 minute brushing procedures, giving at least 1 minute to each tooth in your mouth! Our society is so pressed for time, all anyone thinks of is a quick brush and leave. Who has time to think about teeth! But fast and quick is not through enough to remove all the resident plague….and if you leave plague there long enough, it forms a hard wall called : Tarter. Tarter is full of all the same bacterias: Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli
The only way to safely remove tarter is through a professional cleaning. Doing it yourself with a tooth pick or other tool, may actually cause you to damage your own teeth, leaving an easy pathway for future bacteria to attack.
The good news is cavities are solvable! With the right dentist, cavities may be inevitable, but fixable if discovered early.
Here’s to your health!
– Dr. Yabuki
Surf City Dentist would like to be your personal and private dentist. Call us for an appointment. Your health is important.
This blog is for advisory purposes only. Actual medical/dental diagnosis can not be done online. This blog does not replace the opinion or procedures recommended by others licensed professionals in the field.
Please see a licensed dentist or doctor.