Tooth Decay a.k.a. Cavities

Being the daughter of a Dentist (who is no longer with us), I learned a lot about the benefits of oral health. I remember my dad saying, “you can tell a smoker by looking at their teeth. You can tell a soda pop drinker by the look of their teeth. You can tell a drinker of alcohol by the look of their teeth.” He was right then, and it is still true today. No wonder everyone wants to have their teeth whitened. (I chose a picture of naturally white teeth with healthy gums.) We may not all have teeth this straight, but a good Orthodontist can correct the crooked teeth problems.

A quote I ran across by way of the Michigan Dental Association says,  “Sweetened soda is to teeth as cigarettes are to lungs.” WOW!

Maybe this blog should be a continuation of the blog, I just posted, about  Soda Pop. How does tooth decay relate to Soda Pop or anything else for that matter? My sisters and I were not allowed to drink soda pop as children. I never had a cavity in my teeth until I was 21 years old and in the child-bearing stage of my life, where a mother-to-be is encouraged by the doctor to take supplements, because the baby takes the nutrients from the mother’s body, to include the teeth. The good news is, that because I never got addicted to soda pop, I very seldom drink it today. I never encouraged my children to drink it, I never bought it, I never craved it. Research facts do tell you that “a steady diet of soft drinks is a leading cause of tooth decay.”

So…how do you get tooth decay a.k.a. cavities?

It is not just from the lack of flossing or brushing your teeth.

  • Sugar – the sugar in soda pop combines with bacteria in the mouth to form acid. Also called “tooth demineralization.” True of sugar from any source.
  • All soda pops to include diet and/or “sugar-free” contains its own acid.
  • The acid in a soft drink whether it contains sugar or not, is the primary cause of weakening tooth enamel. When the body becomes acidic, minerals are leached out of your teeth and bones. You need the alkaline balance that I have mentioned in earlier blogs (80% alkaline to 20% acid), to keep this from happening.
  • Each acid attack on the teeth lasts about 20 minutes or more as you continue to sip or drink the soda pop.
  • These continual acid attacks weaken your tooth enamel.
  • The tooth enamel breaks down and the bacteria in the mouth causes the cavities.
  • If you notice your gum line receding (which it often does as you age), then the acid does more damage especially below the gum line.

Cavities are a sign that your body doesn’t have the necessary nutrients to keep your teeth healthy.

Fillings, which most of you get to repair the teeth, are merely a band-aid. They don’t treat the cause.

I feel that the dental community today does not warn the public enough about the damage soda pop, alcohol, and cigarettes, etc. can do to the teeth and gums. I cringe every time I see anyone offering a child of any age a can of soda pop; or a child begging their parents for a can of soda pop. I have seen children with rotten – yes rotten teeth because they are addicted to soft drinks. I also feel the caffeine – even the caffeine free soft drinks are a danger to the health of anyone who drinks it. I have seen children, who are addicted to soda pop with caffeine in it, ask their parents for coffee….why, why, why? And, I cry inside when mom, dad or any adult gives it to them.

                                                   This is only the beginning!

You can drink soft drinks in moderation; use a straw to keep it away from your teeth; swish your mouth out with water afterwards; read the labels; floss; use fluoride toothpaste (that is another story); or whatever else you do to lessen the effects of the damage soda pop, nicotine, alcohol or anything else in the ‘not good for you’ category does, but, in my mind these are just rationalizations for justification.

The bottom line, according to the Michigan Dental Association, is that “There is no nutritional value in soft drinks. In regular pop all the calories come from sugar. In addition to cavities, heavy pop consumption has been linked to diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. One fifth of all one and two-year-old children drink pop. Today, teens, drink three times more pop than 20 years ago. Soft drink companies pay high schools and middle schools big bucks to offer their products. Sealants only protect tooth chewing surfaces. Soda Pop decay tends to occur where sealants can’t reach.” This actually is true for decay from any source.

Parents need to talk to their children about the effects of soda pop, as well as any other tooth decaying sources – especially sugar based. I know it is hard to do when you are addicted yourself. I hope your dentist is telling you to monitor, not only yourself, but especially your children about how much they, and you, drink or eat and when. Encourage your family, and provide for your family healthy alternatives such as water, and though the dentist might urge cows milk – I encourage drinking the nut milks, and natural juices as well.

Train yourself and your children to – MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES!!!!

NOTE: There are many diseases associated with the mouth – to include canker sores, bad breath, abscesses, etc. Do your homework, do your own research. Today, we live in a cyberworld of information. As a precursor read my earlier blog on Soda Pop.

                                                       SMILE, SMILE, SMILE!