Most of us learned from an early age that sugar causes cavities, but not why. If you imagine sugar in your mouth eating away at dental enamel and causing cavities, you’re only partially right. Sugar is just one part of the cavity-causing process.
When you understand the process, you can take steps to prevent cavities that lead to the need for tooth fillings. Your San Jose dentist wants you to be informed, so let’s take a look at the process that takes place in your mouth that causes cavities.
It Starts with Bacteria
As you eat and drink throughout the day, a sticky bacteria-filled film called plaque coats your teeth. Researchers estimate that there are between 500 and 650 different species of bacteria that can live in your mouth—some good, some bad.
This adds up to millions of total bacteria present at any given moment! Acid develops when bacteria feed on carbohydrates (sugar) in your mouth and produces acid as a byproduct.
Acid in Your Mouth Causes Cavities
When you brush your teeth, chew sugarless gum, or rinse your mouth with water after meals, you interrupt this acid-producing process. If you don’t, cavity-causing bacteria remain on your teeth, and the acid starts eating away at dental enamel. As time goes by, the damage penetrates deeper into the tooth, forming cavities that require a tooth-colored filling to repair.
How You Can Prevent Cavities
Brushing twice a day and flossing helps protect your mouth from the damage caused by oral bacteria. Follow up with dental exams and teeth cleanings every six months so your hygienist can remove all traces of plaque and tartar for the ultimate clean. The result is teeth that are so clean you can feel the difference when you run your tongue along them.
Now all you have to think about is keeping your teeth as clean as you possibly can by brushing twice a day and flossing and booking your next teeth cleaning in six months. Call our San Jose dental office to schedule your appointment so we can get started!