Cavities: either you hate them or you’ve never had one. These painful little tooth pockets certainly aren’t the most fun things to deal with.
Lucky for us, all cavities are preventable. Lucky for dentists, people suck at preventing them.
Some of us are more prone to cavities than others (*raises hand*) due to a higher amount of a bacteria called “S. Mutans” in our mouth than others. But before you and I go (fully) blaming our parents, let’s all take a little responsibility and see what we can do to prevent dental problems.
And who better to ask than the lady who not only drills’n’fills my teeth, but who also happens to be my older, wiser, and hotter sister, Dr. Jenn Jackson, DDS.
My sister’s pretty darn good at her job. She calls me the “cavity queen” (bow down). But for real, she’s my dentist and does great work. Look! She even gave me, the queen, a (dental) crown:
Good times. But for realsies, she’s taught me a thing or two about dental health; things I felt like the world should know. So let’s talk teeth with ma girl Jenn Jackson:
Q: So please, tell us, what causes cavities?
Many people think that only sugar causes cavities, but it’s actually bacteria consuming fermentable carbohydrates that produces an acid that demineralizes your teeth. Fermentable carbohydrates are any foods are more than sugar; it includes any carbohydrate-rich food.
What foods cause cavities?
Anything with carbohydrates! This includes fruits, breads, cereals, crackers, cookies, and any snack foods and gummy candy that stick in your teeth, etc. Also any sweetened beverages, including soda, sports drinks, coffee with sugar and/or milk, and all kinds of juice.
It’s also not just about what you eat; it’s about the frequency of your snacking. Every time you consume food or drinks, the pH level in your mouth drops, creating an acidic environment. Your teeth are minerals, and the acid demineralizes under these conditions. It takes saliva 30 minutes to buffer back to a normal pH, so if you frequently consume food or snack or sip all day, you are constantly creating an acidic environment in your mouth, perfect for forming cavities.
What are some foods or drinks you think people would be surprised to learn are cariogenic (cavity-causing)?
Are there any foods that are good for your teeth?
What about coffee and tea?
Any brushing and flossing tips? What kind of toothbrush do you suggest?
For brushing, always use soft or extra soft bristle brushes and brush in a circular motion for 2 minutes. And floss at least once a day. Use fluoride toothpaste – fluoride helps remineralize your teeth and protect them.
Any words on being a dentist?
If you like science and working with your hands, dentistry is the perfect job for you!