How does the food you eat affect your teeth? Where do cavities come from? Why should I chew sugarless gum after eating? All of these questions have to do with acid erosion, and will be addressed in this post.
Acids in your mouth are the main culprit for cavity formation. This may come as a bit of a surprise, as many of us associate limiting sugars with cavity prevention. The reality is, we need to limit sugars AND acids. Here’s what happens:
There are a plethora of bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria feed off of the sugars leftover in your mouth after eating. This includes added sugars as well as natural sugars found in starchy foods and fruit. The sugars from these leftover food particles are used to create an acidic byproduct, which gets on your teeth and erodes the enamel until a hole is formed. That hole is called a cavity.
Acids from foods can also cause enamel erosion. You should avoid acidic drinks such as sports and energy drinks, as they are full of both sugars and acids.
Right after eating, your enamel has been slightly softened because of the acids in your food. During this time it is very sensitive to abrasion. Because of this, it is best not to brush immediately after eating (unless directed to by your dentist). Instead, chew on sugarless gum to stimulate excess saliva, which cleans your teeth and neutralizes acids, preparing them for brushing.
For more information, call Eli Lawrence, DDS in Chicago, Illinois, at 312-236-9895. Dr. Eli J. Lawrence and our team are happy to help!