Fresno Dental

The Truth About Tooth Decay

What Causes Cavities?

Tooth DecayTooth decay is actually an infectious disease caused by a pesky bacterium called Streptococcus mutans. We aren’t born with the bacterium in our mouths; babies get infected with the microbes when their parents kiss them, share utensils, or use their own mouths to clean Baby’s pacifier. The bacterium hangs out in your mouth, feeding off sugar and creating acid. This acid softens away tooth enamel and allows bacteria to create cavities. When you eat something sugary or starchy, S. mutans get a feast as well. It only takes seven minutes for acid to start eroding enamel.

How Can I Fight Cavities?

Cut down on the sugar and acid in your diet. When you eat something acidic or sugary, rinse well with water for about seven seconds afterwards. Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating or drinking, because acid-softened enamel can be damaged by your brush. Saliva rehardens (remineralizes) the enamel in 30 minutes to an hour. Brush your teeth twice a day; the best times to brush are right after you get up in the morning and right before you go to bed at night. Flossing also helps get rid of bacteria, while also serving to remove food particles from between your teeth. Antimicrobial mouthwash kills the cavity-causing bacteria, but will wipe out many types of beneficial bacteria as well. You should only use mouthwash if Dr. Claudia Denes or Dr. Alex Denes recommends it.

Can Cavities Be Eliminated Entirely?

At present, there is no way to completely eliminate tooth decay. However, several research teams are working on blocking S. mutans. Researchers at UCLA’s College of Dentistry have developed a new mouthwash that selectively targets S. mutans while leaving other oral flora alive. Meanwhile, the team at Oragenics has developed a genetically modified strain of S. mutans that does not produce lactic acid, and therefore does not cause cavities. The new strain, called SMaRT, also kills off the native strain within 6-12 months. Although neither of these products is currently on the market, they are both in clinical trials and should be publishing results within the year.

Proper oral hygiene keeps decay at bay and keeps your smile healthy and bright for years to come. For questions about oral care, or to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Denes, call Fresno Dental Studio today at (559) 297-1800. We see patients from Clovis, Tarpey, Rolling Hills, Muscatel, Herndon, Highway City, and the communities surrounding Fresno.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

© Fresno Dental Implants 2024 All Rights Reserved.

Powered by ETOO KHAN