Dentists used to think the only thing needed to prevent cavities were brushing and flossing very well and voiding sugar, but we’ve come to understand that it’s a much more complex process. Most people know that table sugar causes cavities, and this still holds true. Other factors, like when it is eaten, acidity in the mouth, and how dry your mouth is, all influence your risk of decay. Here’s an overview of what you can do to prevent decay, including product recommendations. We try to keep this page updated often with the latest information, but feel free to ask us if there’s been any recent changes to our protocol next time you come to see us!
Many people know that you should avoid sugars if you don’t want to get cavities, and that is still true. Sugars like sucrose, table sugar, are really sticky. Not only do they stick to teeth, they are also loved by the bacteria that cause cavities. We recommend replacing these sugars with xylitol. Sorbitol works as well, but xylitol in particular has the advantage of being anti-cavity. Research shows that we can reduce the decay rate by an average of 85% with 5 exposures to xylitol per day.
The other thing that matters is when you eat. You certainly need to eat your meals, but every carbohydrate meal you eat causes your mouth to become acidic, and therefore more prone to decay. This means that if you have a piece of candy, it does far more damage if you have it in the middle of the afternoon, instead of right after a meal.
If you need to satisfy that sugar craving, try having a small amount of sugar right after dinner. This will minimize the effects of eating the sugar itself, while also still giving you that little dose of pleasure.
Another strategy for snacking is to change the snack. Protein and fat both make great snacks and don’t cause cavities. Good examples would be nuts or cheese.
Keep sugars to immediately after a meal, preferably once per day like after dinner
Replace sugary snacks with protein and fat forward snacks like nuts, cheese, or jerky
replace sugars with sugar alcohols, preferably xylitol
reduce overall intake of sucrose, glucose and fructose
I mentioned the acid attack on your mouth, and a strategy to reverse that would be to use a neutralizing spray to reverse the acidity. We recommend Carifree Ctx2 spray, which can be found on Amazon.
Another way to do this would be to chew some xylitol gum, like trident gum. Others can be found too. Start chewing immediately after a meal, and chew until the sweetness goes away, and then stop. There’s no benefit after the flavor is gone, so you only have to chew it for 5 minutes
Acidity also causes you to crave sugar to offset the acidity. If you can fix the acidity, it will also help your sugar cravings!
Carifree Ctx2 spray
Gum with Xylitol, like Trident