Preventing Tooth Decay at Work
By Dr. Robert Stanaland, Doctor of Dental Surgery at ProCare Family Health Dental Clinic
Regardless of your background, tooth decay, or dental caries, can affect everyone. People are vulnerable during the work day for several reasons. First, they are away from home, which is where their toothbrush and floss are. Secondly, they are busy with work and probably are not aware of their habits that facilitate dental caries. And third, they are not knowledgeable about how dental is caused.
- Dental caries is caused by oral bacteria that metabolize (digest) a wide variety of sugars. The metabolism lowers the pH of the mouth, causing it to become more acidic.
- Limit the time you are consuming sweetened foods, particularly liquids. Sipping on sweetened coffee or soft drinks after breakfast or lunch can feed caries-causing bacteria for long periods of time, causing your mouth to be acidic.
- Brushing your teeth after a meal is not the best strategy to prevent decay. This only allows you to brush away weakened enamel, the outside part of your tooth. (The enamel is weakened by the acids produced by bacteria after meal.)
- Chewing sugarless gum for 10 minutes after a meal will stimulate saliva production. Saliva is your best defense against tooth decay. It neutralizes acids among other things.
- If you plan to use a mouth rinse after a meal, use one with fluoride. This helps to make your teeth less vulnerable to decay.
Robert Stanaland, D.D.S.
Doctor of Dental Surgery
840 West Clements • Odessa, Texas 79763