William Huszti, DDS, BS Microbiology, BA Psychology
By no means is brushing overrated. In fact good oral hygiene is an important strategy in a cavity prevention plan. When combined with a Fluoride toothpaste even more so.
Is it possible to brush your teeth as recommended and still get cavities? Sure. It may help if you understand the basic elements necessary for a cavity to form:
· Tooth (substrate)
· Diet (carbohydrates/sugar)
· Dental plaque (bacteria).
Prevention strategies are simply geared toward manipulating these factors with a bias towards health.
As a restorative dentist of 25 years the most extreme cases of cavities I’ve witnessed are the result of “soda pop” sipping. The carbonation in the beverage acts to “soften” the teeth while the high sugar content provides a rich food source for the bacteria. When combined with frequent sipping the results can be devastating. In such cases diligent tooth brushing alone is a woefully inadequate measure without correcting for the dietary factor.
It’s worth noting that cavities are not the only concern addressed by proper brushing. Plaque control is a fundamental step in the prevention and treatment for periodontal disease, bad breath and contributes to the much desired “whiter smile”. Keep in mind periodontitis, pathology of the supporting structures of the tooth, accounts for more lost teeth than those caused by cavities.
In a nutshell brushing after meals is a great start toward implementing an effective prevention plan but is only one of a number of strategies that must be considered. Be sure to partner with your dentist and share your routine. Cavity prevention can be surprisingly easy and that’s sure to keep you smiling.