Dental Hygiene/Foods

Advertisement


Question
I went in for a cleaning today and the hygenist told me to cut down on sugary foods. Particularly soda which she tells me makes the mouth a lot more acidic which causes cavities even with good dental care. She says that the amount of sugar isn't even so much the issue. It is my understanding that energy in the body is largely from the sugars we eat whether in meats, fruits, or vegetables. So there much be a standard someone could set for me for keeping my sugar down to where I can have lesser need for fillings? I plan to cut down if not completely eliminate soda from my diet, but according to her juices sometimes have too much sugar as well, or at least sugar added. I've been meaning to drink more pineapple juice, but I have no idea what the normal amount of sugar is for that. Any suggestions for sugar limits for foods and drink?

Also how does floss help? I understand that brushing will not get between teeth as floss does, but I can at least imagine with the abrasiveness of a brush that it will clean the outward surfaces of my teeth. But what does wiggling a waxed string between my teeth really do?

Answer
I am in agreement with everything your hygienist told you.  I will try to add a few points to answer your questions and add to the effectiveness of your prevention.  You asked all the right questions.

First I want you to know its not sugar that is the cause of decay.  It is just about any food product that certain bacteria can convert to acid.  The acid is what allows the tooth to decay.  It can't happen without certain bacteria being present.

Furthermore, it is the frequency, not the amount of the offending food product.  For instance, orange juice in a baby's sippy cup is no better than soda or milk.  Frequent snacking or drinking raises the acid level each time you partake.  A baby given a sippy cup with anything other than water will most likely develop decay because  the frequency of the acid attack overwhelms the bodies ability to neutralize the acid produced by the bacteria as they ingest the food. product.

Floss reduces the number of bacteria that can turn your food products to acid.  I prefer various little brushes made to go between your teeth.  You can be even more effective by dipping them into bacteria killing substances like Listerine.  If you are a frequent snacker be sure to at least rinse thoroughly after ingesting anything, including sodas.

The most powerful prevention comes from the frequent application of the fluoride in your tooth paste.  Brushing with the fluoridated toothpaste each time you eat or snack is the most powerful prevention you can do.  It is not the plaque removal as much as the fluoride applied each time that keeps the acid from demineralizing your teeth.

I'm sorry for the delay.  I hope some of these points will be helpful and interesting.

Let me know if you would like additional information on how to re-mineralize your teeth to prevent cavities.

Larry Burnett, DDS
lburnett2@comcast.net

Dental Hygiene

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Larry Burnett DDS

Expertise

I can answer questions about prevention, elimination of, and non surgical treatment of periodontal diseases and early tooth decay. I can't answer questions concerning dental insurance payments.

Experience

Taught hygienists in a major dental hygiene school for about 20 years. Taught hands on courses concerning these categories to Dentists and Hygienists throughout the US and Canada including repeat lectures at the Annual Scientific Sessions of A.D.A. and A.G.D over several years. Personal hands on delivery of preventive hygiene services to disadvantaged children through a mobile school based prevention program.

Publications
RDH Magazine, Parkell, Dental India and some places of which I'm not aware.

Education/Credentials
Medical College of Virginia ( VCU) School of Dentistry.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.