Bob Johnson DMD
Plaque Causes Tooth Decay
I am asked nearly every day why cavities are formed and what can be done to prevent this dental decay.
The inability to remove the plaque (90% bacteria) from teeth is the cause of decay on your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque produce acid which removes minerals from the teeth. This demineralized tooth structure is in fact decay.
The pH is the measure of how strong or destructive an acid is in causing decay. The measurement of pH ranges from 1-14 with pH7 being neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline). A pH of between 1 and 7 is acidic (1 is the most acidic or destructive) while greater than pH 7 is alkaline.
As this relates to decay the closer to neutral or alkaline pH the less likely decay will form. Normal sugar (sucrose) produces a pH of 2 or 3 (extremely acidic) in the mouth, ultimately resulting in significant decay. The more this acid is reduced or buffered the less decay is able to form.
Xylitol, Can a Sugar Help Reduce Tooth Decay?
The one preventive measure that most dentists utilize is fluoride which makes the superficial tooth structure more difficult to remove minerals.
Unfortunately fluoride has many detrimental health side effects as explained my last article, Flouride: Emerging Research May Conflict with Traditional Dentistry.
The search for a tool to reduce decay by raising pH (close to neutral pH 7) has been in high gear for several years.
The new weapon to reduce tooth decay formation is now available. Amazingly this tool is another sugar (sugar alcohol) called Xylitol.
Xylitol is a sugar that actually lowers the mouth pH barely below neutral pH 7. We are finding that xylitol actually reduces susceptibility of teeth to develop decay.
National Integrated Health Associates now uses and recommends xylitol in rinses and tooth pastes to reduce decay as part of a preventive oral hygiene program without the detrimental health effects of fluoride. It is critical that xylitol is used in place of other sugars in snacks, chewing gums, foods and more. You should be conscious of which sugars you are exposing you and your families to. There is a huge difference in not only your dental health but overall health when comparing the different sugars you can use.
Questions can be addressed to the dental department at National Integrated Health Associates 202-237-7000 ext. 2, or schedule a holistic dental consult.
Robert Johnson, DMD, is a biological dentist at National Integrated Health Associates. He looks at the mouth as an integral part of the whole body, and specializes in the use of biocompatible dental materials for all aspects of biological dentistry, mercury amalgam removal, dental surgery, ceramic dental implants and orthodontics.