Cavities suck. There's no doubt about it.
But why do they only seem to happen to some people?
Many of us have that annoying younger sibling who never brushed their teeth and yet SOMEHOW never got a single cavity growing up. Meanwhile, the older more responsible sibling who brushed their teeth religiously consistently found themselves with sugar bugs in their teeth after each check up at the dentist.
Let's explore what factors truly cause cavities and bust some misleading myths while we're at it.
First of all, if you'd rather watch a video than read, look no further:
For those of you book- ...er, blogworms.. let's press forth!
Your diet plays a huge role in how often you'll get tooth decay.
But guess what! It's less about what you eat, and more about how often you eat. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a nutritious diet. But when it comes to your teeth, it is possible for a glass of orange juice to be worse than chugging three pepsis. In fact, we're going to delve into exactly why this is the case to help you understand the importance of meal frequency.
Say you pour yourself a glass of orange juice in the morning. Instead of using a glass, you pour it into one of those fancy S'well bottles that keep it cold for like ever. You sip on the glorious citrus beverage all day long, reflecting on how happy you are that you dropped $30 on a water bottle.
That is, until you go to the dentist, and find you have 5 new cavities to deal with. BUT WHY?!?!
Here's the problem: everytime you sip on your orange juice, you are introducing something called "fermentable carbohydrates" into the oral environment. Or in plain English, you're arming a bacterial army bent on destroying your enamel.
No matter how often you brush your teeth, there will always be bacteria in your mouth that would eat their way through your teeth if they could. You can't get rid of them, no matter how hard your try. However, how often you give them weapons of tooth-destruction is entirely up to you. Essentially, everytime you eat anything with a "fermentable carbohydrate" (practically every food known to man, minus some vegetables, etc), you are giving the bacterial army the ability to launch an ACID ATTACK....
Fortunately, your teeth are tough. They're built like castles. They can withstand an acid siege. However, put under siege long enough, even the greatest of fortresses fall. Three acid attacks a day? That's child's play for most teeth; they can defend against that. Ten acid attacks? Now we're getting into murky territory. EVERY TIME YOU SIP YOUR S'WELL CONTAINED ORANGE JUICE, YOU ARE CAUSING AN ACID ATTACK. Chug three pepsis all at once? THAT'S ONLY ONE ACID ATTACK. Sorry for the caps lock yelling, but this is flipping important.
Bottom line, consuming meals/snacks/drinks more often means more cavities. Stick to three meals a day, and you're very likely to find yourself with a cavity-free check up the next time you visit your dentist (unless you've got some other stuff going on, like dry mouth for instance... more on that in a future episode ;) )