This is a tough time of year for your teeth. Fresh off of the trails of a candy-infused bender at the end of October, they now have to contend with a feast for the masses, chockfull of goodies and treats that you’ve waited all year to indulge, but that your teeth probably dread. Why, you may ask? Miami dentist Dr. Arun Garg explains what’s in store for your teeth at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner table.
The Unseen Dinner Guests
As you feast on all that the table has to offer, little microbes inside your mouth feast, as well. Dental plaque, the sticky substance that sometimes adheres to the surfaces of your teeth and gums, is comprised mainly of oral bacteria, along with a dab of saliva and a sprinkling of food debris. Some of the over-600 different kinds of bacteria in your mouth are docile and harmless enough to confuse some scientists as to their purpose. Others, however, are so destructive that they have been singled out as primary culprits in issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Streptococcus mutans, for instance, is considered the tooth decay bacterium. It earns this title by converting sugars and carbs from your diet into lactic acid. Like all acid, it is corrosive, and once you mouth’s environment has become acidic enough, it begins to erode your tooth enamel (the protective layer that covers and shelters your teeth). Once enamel is weak enough, bacteria can slip past, infect the softer underlying tooth structure, and eat away at your tooth until treated.
Feeding the Enemy
An old myth about cavities is that they are caused solely by sugar consumption. While sugar contributes largely to tooth decay, it is not the sole cause. Other foods without the slightest hint of sweetness can still contribute to cavities by providing other fermentable carbohydrates as fodder for oral bacteria’s metabolization. We cannot, as of yet, completely eliminate harmful oral germs, but we can reduce their impact by inhibiting the process that make them harmful. Controlling plaque buildup is as simple as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. Keeping plaque to a minimum will reduce the amount of acid that oral bacteria can produce, lessening the attacks on your teeth. Brush your teeth right before thanksgiving dinner to minimize the amount of unwanted dinner guests.
Repairing the Damage
Unfortunately, even the most prepared are not invincible. If Thanksgiving takes its toll on your dental health, we can help repair the damage and restore your smile to one you’ll be proud of. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your Miami dentist at the Center for Complete Dentistry by calling 305-935-4991, or visit our website to schedule your appointment online. Located in the 33180 area, we proudly serve patients from Miami, Highland Lakes, North Miami Beach, and the surrounding communities.