Bacteria are the enemies of our teeth, with a widespread presence in our mouth and teeth. These happily survive on any food debris that sticks to our teeth and gums. But these ungrateful guests of the mouth, rather than showing gratitude, create troubles for teeth, by producing acids in return that decay the tooth enamel and generate cavities.
Teeth do perform repairing task by remineralization of the tooth enamel, using minerals from the saliva. But the moderate ability of teeth to do so lags behind the high rate of destruction by acid.
While acid is eating away the tooth, it does not cause any discomfort or pain, but if not treated, it may build up a hole within the enamel, spreading further to dentin and pulp layers of the affected tooth. This will finally lead to intense pain and may further cause destruction of the pulp layers and the associated tooth nerves.
Ways to Strengthen Teeth Against Cavities
Choosing Healthy Foods
Bacterial love sugary and carbohydrates rich foods like caramel, butter, peanuts, candies and honey as these offer energy to multiply, grow and produce acids. These foods tend to be sticky and gummy and get stuck to teeth or gums, making one difficult to dislodge them through chewing or swallowing. These serve as long lasting sources of food for resident bacteria of the mouth, to generate acids and create cavities.
One needs to restrict such foods in children, who are fussy while brushing, or ensure that they drink water soon after intake of such meals or snacks. Additionally, one should have through mouth rinsing and if possible, brushing too after such meals. Include foods rich in calcium like milk, yogurt and green leafy vegetables to strengthen teeth against demineralization.
Time of snacking or meals is very crucial in prevention of cavity build up as the acid produced by the bacteria, gets neutralized by saliva of the mouth. The minerals of saliva further help to repair damages caused to teeth, from acid attack. Hence, meals with large intervals provide sufficient time for saliva to act and complete the repairing task efficiently. On the other hand, frequent snacking cause constant attack from acids and interfere in tooth repair.
Snacks also need to be eaten along with meals for developing strong teeth and therefore, larger sized meals need to be encouraged over snacking throughout the day. Sipping sugary drinks, eating candies or chocolates all throughout the day is the cause for rapidly growing cavity issue among children.
Adequate Fluoride Intake
Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel by making it much resistant to acid harms. Mostly, we intake the required amount through our toothpastes and children receive adequate amounts through drinking water.
In case, water is not fluoridated, consult doctor for fluoride supplements for the child to ensure its adequate intake on daily basis.
Good Oral Hygiene and Dental Check Up
Dental problems occur silently, creating symptoms of pain, after severe damage has been done. Hence, make sure to follow good oral practices of brushing twice a day and flossing, after every meal. Also, visit the dentist periodically as many of the potential problems that may become severe later, are well identified by dentist beforehand.
Dentist can look at places within the mouth, where we ourselves cannot reach while brushing, and such unapproachable places are the core targets, for cavity formation. With help of fluoride treatments in such areas, dentist may be able to prevent further spread of cavities and save us from dental drillings or fillings procedures later.