Sugar, starches, and other fermentable carbohydrates feed certain bacteria that dwell in your mouth; namely, Streptococcus mutans. As they feed, S. mutans convert sugar into acids that attack tooth enamel while depleting your teeth of enamel-building minerals. Weak enamel is easier for bacteria to bypass, and therefore increases your risks of cavity development. Cosmetic dentistry can improve your tooth enamel’s appearance if it stains, but if acid erosion outpaces your teeth’s ability to recover, then enamel will become irreversibly damaged and cavity-causing bacteria can slip right past it.
How to Prevent Cavity Development
- S. mutans and other bacteria linger in your mouth by producing dental plaque and clinging to your teeth, gums, and tongue. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once to control plaque buildup and your risk of cavities.
- Sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks contain dangerous amounts of acid and sugar, and if you consume them regularly, they can hasten cavity development. Instead, drink water, which naturally neutralizes acid and rinses away harmful bacteria, and milk, which contains an ample supply of enamel-strengthening calcium and phosphate.
- During a routine dental exam, your dentist can carefully inspect your teeth to spot signs of enamel erosion, and can prescribe treatments to strengthen your teeth before decay develops. For optimal results, visit our office at least once every six months for a comprehensive exam and dental cleaning, or visit more often if your dentist recommends it.