Timing matters. While everything is fine in moderation, it helps to eat sweets and other sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
Your Mouth Is a Battleground
Many different types of bacteria live in your mouth. Some are beneficial to your dental health, but others are harmful. For example, studies have shown that a select group of harmful bacteria produce acid in your mouth whenever they encounter and digest sugar. These acids remove minerals from the tooth enamel, which is the shiny, protective, outer layer of your tooth. This process is called demineralization.
The good news is that your saliva helps to constantly reverse this damage in a natural process called remineralization. The minerals in your saliva, such as calcium and phosphate, in addition to fluoride from toothpaste and water, help the enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost during an “acid attack.” This helps strengthen your teeth.
However, the repeated cycle of acid attacks causes mineral loss in the enamel. Over time, this weakens and destroys the enamel, forming a cavity. Simply put, a cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by tooth decay. It’s the result of harmful bacteria digesting the sugar in foods and producing acids. If left untreated, the cavity can spread into the deeper layers of the tooth, causing pain and possible tooth loss.
The signs of tooth decay include a toothache, pain when chewing and sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold foods and drinks. Call Barbara Bell DDS, PA at 301-620-8869 if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Your mouth is a constant battleground of demineralization and remineralization. Nonetheless, cavities occur when bacteria in your mouth digest sugar and produce acid, which weakens tooth enamel.