At Southern California Dental Health Associates our goal is to also keep you updated with ways to help keep your mouth, and consequnetly, the rest of your body as healthy as poosible.
Recently, I had to opportunity to listen to one of my mentors, Kim Kutsch, on a podcast that he did recently. Dr. Kutsch is one of the pioneers in prevention in the dental world and also a founder of the company Carifree which provides preventive products. He spent some time talking about the risk factors for cavities and he shared one that I hadn’t heard before so here goes as I try to give you the info.
A little chemistry first. When we talk about acid verses base, nuetral is called pH of 7.0, below it is acidic and above it is basic. Cavities in the mouth can’t happen unless the pH drops below 5.5 which isn’t hard to do. Cavities are caused when bacteria react with sugar and create an acid. This can easily drop the pH below 5.5 and minerals leach out of the tooth. Your saliva and it’s mineral content will help balance the pH back to neutral when minerals can be replaced where they were lost. You get a cavity when you overload the system.
The reasons tht we get cavities can be lumped into 5 groups. The first is genetics ( we can’t even test you yet, but there are more than 50 genetic vairiations that can contribute to the cavity cycle), the second is diet, third is home care, 4th is saliva and fifth is the pH of the biofilm (which is the gluey matrix in which the bacteria live around the teeth). The biofilm, when acidic, allows for the development of bacteria that cause cavites (and these bad bacteria can make good bacteria behave badly). What drives the biofilm to acidity is when there is acid in the mouth,. I have always took this to be the acidity caused by bacteria and sugar.
But there is another aspect to acidity that can drive the biofilm acidic and that is from any beverage or food, even if there is no sugar involved. Some examples are diet sodas, any carbonated beverage and about 50% of the bottled water on the market are acidic on their own (Acidity helps increase the shelf life). While this acididity will not drive cavities itself, it will drive the biofilm to be more acidic which in turn increases the chances of the biofilm being more agressive to causing cavities.
We are committed at Southern California Dental health Associates to your health, and we understand how your oral health does affect your overall health. If you or a friend have any qeustions about this article or anything about denal heatlh and disease prevention feel free to give us a call at 343-934-3341.