Do you feel like you have “bad teeth’? That no matter what you do, every time you go to the dentist you always seem to need work done? And that there is someone you know that no matter what they eat, how little they brush, they have never had a filling? There IS such a thing as “good teeth” and “bad teeth”. Dr Sherry Wong looks at why some people are more prone to decay than others.
There are 3 factors required for decay to occur
- The presence of harmful, decay causing bacteria
- Susceptible teeth
- Complex sugars
And there are protective mechanisms that we have in the fight against decay. These are
- Strong enamel reinforced by calcium and fluoride crystals
- High saliva flow and mineral phosphates present (acid buffering capacity)
- Great oral hygiene
- Good diet
Let’s look at what happens with good teeth and bad teeth when a lolly is eaten.
Weak tooth structure (eg in some disorders where enamel is not formed properly) will be more susceptible to decay.
Low saliva flow means acid challenges aren’t effectively neutralised, which means that the oral environment is in an acidic state, allowing the bacteria the ideal environment to cause tooth decay.
Poor oral hygiene leaves the bacteria (plaque – the white film on your teeth) on the tooth for a longer amount of time to do their damage.
A sugary diet (yes that includes fruit juices sorry!) gives more food for the bacteria to consume and use to attack the enamel.
Generally speaking, people with “good teeth” can get away with poor diets or oral hygiene because their bacteria isn’t highly cariogenic (decay causing); their enamel is strong; their saliva very acid resistant. Or one or two or all of the above.
Unfortunately, if you have “bad teeth” then you need to fight!
Here are Gentle Dental Centre’s tips for those with “bad teeth”
- A low sugar diet gives the bacteria no fuel to use.
- Impeccable oral hygiene (yes that includes flossing or interdental cleaning) removes the bacteria so they don’t even have a chance to make a home on your teeth.
- Saliva flow can be increased by chewing gum or there are other products which help dry mouth.
- Use of mineral products such as high fluoride toothpastes, mouthrinses or calcium protein products (tooth mousse) to help remineralise the teeth.
- Regular 6 monthly checks and cleans, sometimes even more often.