Bacteria within your mouth often reside in dental plaque, which is the sticky substance that coats your teeth and gums when you fail to brush your teeth for a prolonged period. The bacteria in plaque are able to breakdown simple carbohydrates that are left in your mouth after your meals and snacks. As the microbes feed on the sugars for energy, they excrete acid as a byproduct of their digestion.
This acid lowers the pH of your saliva. The lower pH causes calcium and phosphorus to dissolve and leave your tooth enamel. At first, this demineralization may appear as small white spots on your tooth. However, as it continues, cavities develop.
Some people will develop more cavities than others during this demineralization process. Here are a few reasons why:
Larger Numbers of Bacteria
If there are greater amounts of bacteria in your mouth, you can expect to incur more tooth decay due to the increased amounts of bacterial acid. To minimize the number of oral microbes in your mouth, you should be sure to brush and floss frequently. However, there are other measures that you can take as well, such as rinsing your mouth with an antimicrobial solution. Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine and hydrogen peroxide mouth rinses can help lower bacterial counts in the mouth.
Additionally, some products, such as gum that is sweetened with xylitol, are antimicrobial. You can also employ natural substances through the foods and drinks that you consume. For instance, tea contains polyphenols that can lessen the number oral bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans.
Dry mouth can also affect the number of cavities that you develop. It occurs when there is a low amount of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is important to the reduction of tooth decay, because it is involved in the remineralization of tooth enamel.
Saliva contains many phosphate and calcium ions. As a result, after demineralization occurs, some of these ions can be attracted back to the surface of a tooth to remineralize the enamel. Early damage can be repaired before a cavity forms.
Without sufficient saliva in place, remineralization may not occur properly. To increase the amount of saliva in your mouth, you can chew sugarless gum. As the chewing process stimulates the salivary glands to produce more saliva, dry mouth is alleviated.
Sucking on a sugarless mint can also help promote saliva production. To lessen your chance of developing dry mouth, avoid using tobacco or alcohol-based mouthwashes.
To learn more ways to protect your teeth from dental decay, schedule an appointment with a dentist like Samuel L Stokke DDS in your area.