Dentistry for Total Body Wellness – continued….
Guilderland, NY – Contrary to what we used to think not everyone with teeth will get cavities. Cavities are caused by a bacterial infection that can be stopped. No one should have new cavities each time that they have a dental visit. You get cavities because you have a certain type of bacteria. With medicine, these bacteria can be stabilized. As part of a thorough oral health evaluation, we routinely check for caries (cavities). Traditional dentistry has focused on repairing damage from cavities by placing a filling in a tooth. Our goal is to control the bacteria and stop the cycle of filling after filling. Treating bacteria will prevent additional damage.
There are three things necessary for the caries bacteria to create holes in the teeth.
1. Cavity causing bacteria, which create disease by manufacturing acid from the food they eat.
We can measure the acidity level of a liquid or substance using a pH scale. A pH of 7 is neutral and the ideal range for the mouth to be in. In order for the bacteria to successfully make a hole in the tooth the pH or acidity level of the mouth has to drop below 5.5.
2. Food supply for the bacteria such as acids from the foods we eat help make an ideal environment for the cavity causing bacteria to thrive. Once they gain a certain population number, any food we eat gives them the energy to continually drop the mouth pH level to below 5.5. This low pH environment can last from 30 minutes to several hours after the food is supplied to the bacteria or acid is ingested from our drinks and our food.
3. A tooth or a tooth surface to create a hole in. Our most natural protective factor is the buffering capacity of the saliva. Our body naturally attempts to bring pH to a neutral balance.
Treatment for this disease can come from three distinct approaches:
1. Attack the bacteria (brush, floss, waterpik, mouth rinse, toothpaste)
2. Limit the food for the bacteria (diet)
3. Harden the vulnerable tooth surfaces (fluoride varnish)
After evaluating a patient’s risk, we help you take the necessary steps to manage this disease by providing a personalized cavity management planner:
1. Eliminate or reduce the bacteria that cause cavities
2. Eliminate sugar and use a substitute bacteria can’t use
3. Use products that reduce mouth acidity and restore natural pH
4. Add foods to your diet that don’t allow bacteria to grow
5. Disrupt the bacteria and harden teeth with proper paste
Most people don’t realize that Cavity bacteria are transmitted through families when saliva is transferred (ex: kissing, sharing drinks, sharing utensils). Regular examinations can identify disease early and help stop the spread of infection. We are now conducting saliva testing. A simple 15 second swab test can allow us to measure your oral bacteria and help determine your risk for tooth decay. We are committed to provide you with all the adjuncts and instructions to keep your mouth and body as healthy as it can be to keep you smiling!
Until next month, keep smiling!
With Oshins of Smiles, Dr. Steven Oshins