Cavities form primarily due to acids in your mouth. This may come as a bit of a surprise, as many of us associate limiting our sugar intake with cavity prevention. The reality is, we need to limit sugars AND acids. Here’s what happens when a cavity forms:
There are a lot of bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria feed on the sugars leftover in your mouth after eating. These include added refined sugars as well as natural sugars found in starchy foods, fruit and other foods. The sugars in these leftover food particles are used to fuel the bacteria, which create an acidic byproduct, which in turn erodes the tooth enamel until a hole is formed. We call that hole a cavity.
Acids from foods can also cause enamel erosion more directly. You should avoid drinks such as sports and energy drinks, as they are full of both sugars and acids.
After eating, your enamel is slightly softened because of the acids in your food. During this time your enamel is very sensitive to abrasion. Because of this, it is best not to brush immediately after eating (unless directed to do so by your dentist). After eating, chew on sugarless gum to stimulate excess saliva, which cleans your teeth and neutralizes acids. This will prepare them to be brushed.
For more information, call Michael J Leahy DDS in Columbus, Ohio, at 614-848-4900. Dr. Michael J Leahy and our team are happy to help!