Hey everyone! There’s an issue in my practice that I experience everyday when I’m in my office. And it’s the issue of cavities. It isn’t uncommon for me to encounter a patient that is constantly frustrated with getting cavities or even just surprised that they even have them to begin with.
The common response I get when my exam reveals that someone has cavities is, “That’s impossible! I can’t have cavities. I brush everyday!” To that I honestly say, “Brushing your teeth is useless.” And that’s when I hear the jaws hit the floor in astonishment.
If you’re brushing your teeth as long as the average person in this country, then brushing your teeth accounts for 1 minute out of your day. That’s literally 1 minute out of the 1440 minutes or .07% of your day. How can anyone expect that such little time invested in oral hygiene could possibly save us from cavities? Thus it must be something else.
The main driver of tooth decay is food – what you eat and more importantly how often are you eating. The moment you put food in your mouth is the moment your mouth immediately becomes acidic. The carbohydrates in your foods that come into contact with the oral bacteria instantaneously become metabolized to release acidic byproducts. This lowers the pH level in your mouth and leaves you susceptible to cavities.
But thank goodness there’s someone to save the day! Saliva! Saliva has many of Mother Nature’s good healthy stuff to help reduce acids like bicarbonates to neutralize acid. But that requires time. 20-40 minutes to be more specific.
But of course, we have to make it difficult for our saliva to do its job by throwing in a potato chip in our mouth just a few minutes later. Then we go on to throw in a random cookie in our mouth 20 minutes later because someone brought them to work. And then moments later decide to drink a cup of soda at our work desk for the next hour. This constant routine of snacking keeps us in a perpetual state of acidity that puts our teeth at huge risks for cavities.
Thus, my analogy. I would rather you drink 10 gallons of soda in 1 minute veruses sip 1 can of soda over 10 hours. It involves frequency of exposure. Of course, this is just to make a dental point. I don’t advise anyone to attempt to drink 10 gallons of soda in 1 minute.
Now, there is much more to the story. But a good starting point can be to look at the frequency in which we snack in order to help reduce our risk of decay.
Stay tuned for more information on this amazing topic!
Until next time! Have a great day!
Dr. Anthony Do