To Fill Or Not To Fill

To fill or not to fill, that is the question? What is a cavity anyway? These are a couple of questions a patient might have. A cavity forms when acid weakens a tooth enough that it cavitates. Once the tooth cavitates, bacteria can enter the tooth, furthering their destruction. The process starts when acid demineralizes tooth structure. There are two main sources of acid: the food that we eat, and the acid produced by bacterial plaque. Luckily, we have mineral-rich saliva to help remineralize tooth structure after an acidic assault. The catch is when the assaults happen too frequently, when the bacterial counts are high, or when there is not enough saliva and teeth start to demineralize. This leads to tooth pain and the need to have dental work done.

The solution:

  • Eating less frequently during the day to allow the saliva to neutralize any acidic attack
  • Chewing sugar-free gum rich in Xylitol after a meal or snack to increase saliva, clear out acidic and acid-producing food, and reduce bacterial counts
  • Rinsing with a basic, high pH, mouthwash to neutralize acidity and reduce bacterial counts prior to brushing. This one is especially important because when teeth are in an acidic environment, they cannot remineralize and your stuck despite having calcium, phosphate, and fluoride in abundance.

If you seem to get a lot of cavities despite thorough, regular brushing and flossing. You can adopt these simple protocols to strengthen weakened enamel and avoid the need to drill and fill!