The Connection between Bacteria and Dental Decay
Dental decay begins with acidity from bacteria, which feeds on food particles left behind after eating. Researchers recently started to explore the relationship between dental caries (decay), bacteria, and other microorganisms present in the mouth during the decay process.
Not all bacteria are bad, of course. You have probably seen talk of probiotics and gut health in the news. As it turns out, probiotics can also slow down the decay process. As decay progresses, the mouth environment begins to change dramatically. The presence of bacteria is a catalyst that propels the decay progression.
Researchers are using DNA and RNA research to gain a greater understanding of the differences between good and bad bacteria through genome sequencing with the ultimate goal of slowing down or preventing the damage bacteria cause on our smiles.
In the meantime, cavity prevention is up to you and your dentist. Simple behavior modifications such as limiting sugary and starchy snacks, brushing your teeth thoroughly twice daily, flossing in between teeth, and making sure that adequate fluoride levels come into contact with teeth.
Some patients will always have a greater likelihood of developing decay partially due to a genetic predisposition. In most cases, however, genetic predisposition to decay can be overcome with diligent dental care including regular dental exams, x-rays, professional dental cleanings, diligent home hygiene, and by opting for preventive treatments such as dental sealants.
It is also essential to remember that just as bacteria that cause illness can be passed from one person to the next, so can the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease. Sharing forks, kissing, and sharing toothbrushes can transfer decay from one person to the next. Making sure every member of your family has good oral health can help keep everyone healthier.
If you want a family dentist in Gretna, LA, who serves the families in our community with effective preventive dentistry, give us a call. We happily welcome new patients to our dental family.