We recently had a patient who stopped smoking. She controlled her urge to smoke by eating mints. When she came to have her teeth cleaned, we discoved that she had rampant decay in her back teeth. What had changed in 6 months? She was sucking on these mints all day long. The bacteria in her mouth metabolized the sugar from the mints. The acid created from this process weakened the enamel so that it eroded away and exposed the inside of the tooth to further decay. Thankfully because she has regular cleanings and exams, we discovered the decay early. Had she neglected to come in for an exam, the progresssive decay could have led to root canals or even tooth loss. Did you know that the increase drinking of bottled water (non-fluoridated) has been linked to an increase in tooth decay, the first increase in 30 years?
We also have noticed an increase in “soda mouth”, the decay we see along the gumline when a patient drinks too much soda. Even drinking sugarless or diet soda contributes to the decay because of the acid in the soda (cola has been known to dissolve paint on a car’s finish.) Water us a much easier beverage on your teeth.
Brushing and flossing after every meal is not always possible. However, if you brush and floss every morning and night, you will lessen the impact of sugar on your teeth. And in between times, rinse your mouth with water, use your tongue as a tooth brush and carry one of the varieties of disposable floss pics to clean between your teeth.
Diet can have a great impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Stay tuned for our next blog to hear more on this topic.