Cavities and Oral Health

Cavities: A Bacterial Infection Transmissible and Preventable

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A very popular, and often “accepted” oral infection caused by bacteria is known as caries. A damaging result of the caries infection process are holes in the teeth commonly known as cavities. Many parents expect their children to acquire cavities as they grow, and often act surprised, when children leave the dental office without the need for “fillings.” A reality about cavities is that the bacteria that cause cavities are transmissible and are often introduced to a child at a very early age from a primary caregiver. This happens by kissing, sharing utensils, drinks, or other forms of salvia exchange. Once the cavity causing bacteria are introduced to the mouth they can grow out of balance resulting in disease and tooth damage.

Cavity causing bacteria use sugar in the diet to produce lactic acid that softens and erodes the tooth enamel. If the acid producing bacteria are not eliminated or suppressed they continue to produce acid and further damage the infected tooth and can move on to other teeth. Unless the population of bacteria are suppressed, trips to the dentist year after year, visit after visit, can be disappointing, expensive, and painful with a continual cycle of cavities and fillings.

In addition to tooth damage, there is good scientific evidence that the cavity causing bacteria have other negative health implications. They reduce the capacity of the body to make a beneficial substance your blood vessels need to be healthy called Nitric Oxide. They also contribute to the process of plaque buildup in the arteries commonly called atherosclerosis which can increase risk for heart attack and stroke.

One strategy to reduce cavities is to avoid sugar. What is the good news about that? Plant based whole foods that grow naturally do not have large amounts of refined sugar and contain Arginine, one of the building blocks of Nitric Oxide. Cavity reduction and prevention is one of the oral benefits of a healthy plant based diet.

Dr. Thompson founded the Wellness Dentistry Network which is a group of dentists with a keen awareness about how oral health affects overall health. All Wellness Dentistry Network member dentists are encouraged to do a very thorough cavity examination. They are also encouraged to provide comprehensive treatment recommendations to assist in breaking the cycle of repeated tooth damage, costly

repairs, and unnecessary pain from this destructive infection. To learn more about oral systemic health, visit a Wellness Dentistry Network Member Dentist today. They can be found by visiting and searching the Member Directory.

Jim BallaComment