The Real Cavity Culprit — Acid; Where It Comes from And What To Do About It
♪ The Candyman can ‘cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good. ♫
Did you know that Willy Wonka has an incredible smile? His dentist raves about him. Not one cavity in sight. Ever.
As strange as it might be for a world-renowned candy maker to have pristine dental health, it’s the truth.
But, Wonka doesn’t have his pearly-white, silky-smooth, cavity-free smile just by pure luck. It’s because he knows a secret:
Sugar isn’t the enemy of your smile; acid is the enemy.
Cavities are the result of acid eating away at your teeth.
Acid breaks down the enamel and minerals that make up your toothy smile and eventually results in cavities: those dark, painful holes in your tooth.
Luckily, like Wonka, if you know how to manage destructive acid in your mouth, you can ward off cavities, too.
So, like a golden ticket (but maybe a bit less exciting), here’s the skinny on acid and how you can keep it away from your teeth for good.
1. Know where acid comes from
The two sources of acid that you need to be aware of are the acidic foods and drinks you consume and the harmful oral bacteria that live on your smile.
Acidic foods and drinks can cause major damage to your teeth; this happens by the low pH in your mouth when the acid from that tasty treat you just enjoyed is introduced.
Your snack could be as healthy as an orange or as not-so-healthy as a handful of sour candy.
Either way, the acid is there.
The other source of acid that you might not be aware of is oral bacteria (the bad kind) that gorge themselves on the fermentable carbs left on your smile.
After they have their fill, they create an acidic waste that will oh-so annoyingly be left all over your poor teeth.
2. Frequency of consumption matters
Whether you aim to reduce bacteria or acidic foods, frequency is an essential factor that can’t be left out.
The more often you consume sugars and carbohydrates, the more vulnerable your mouth is to tooth decay.
Your body’s natural defense, saliva, gets involved when this happens. Not only is saliva involved in the rebuilding process, but it’s also excellent at neutralizing acid.
Unfortunately, saliva tends to sleep in: it can take up to 30 minutes after a food exposure for saliva to neutralize acid, all the while leaving acid to deal damage to your teeth.
What’s more, if you’re consuming food and drinks more often than just at regular mealtimes, you’re leaving yourself at more significant risk for acid attacks and waiting for that 30-minute saliva repairman to do his job over and over.
3. Using the right tools for the job
After you know how acid shows up in your mouth and what it takes to neutralize it naturally, you’ll want to arm yourself with the tools that will take you that last mile in your fight against acid.
Simple tricks like rinsing your mouth with water after meals, using an alcohol-free mouthwash, and brushing with an anti-microbial toothbrush are easy changes to implement that will help you keep acid at bay.
The most powerful tool we recommend?
Touted by dentists and even the California Dental Association as a proven way to kill off acid-producing bacteria, xylitol is an effective dental health tool that you can find in many forms.
Additionally, xylitol revs up your natural salivary response, helping to neutralize acid.
While Wonka’s xylitol-sweetened, 3-course dinner gum never made it to market (and who knows what happened to that 100% xylitol everlasting gobstopper), there are many other xylitol products from which you can choose.
But, you don’t want to pick any ol’ option, just like you wouldn’t pick any random candy bar.
Your xylitol products should be slam-packed with xylitol AND taste good.
Luckily, Epic Dental takes pride in producing products that are so stuffed with xylitol you only need to have a few pieces to hit your dentist recommended daily dose.
We also believe (and sure, we’re biased) that we’ve got the tastiest products on the xylitol market.
So, it should be a no-brainer.
If you’re ready to go into your next dentist visit with the smiling confidence that Willy Wonka has, you need to introduce xylitol into your daily routine.
By reducing the amount of acid-producing bacteria, fighting the effects of acid, and repairing previous damage, xylitol is the little kick of sweet that will always have your back.