One frustrating phrase that we hear from patients is, “ Why do I have so many cavities?” The other that we hear is, “Why do I need so much gum therapy?” When you hear that you have cavities or gum disease those are indeed reasonable questions. So, let me explain why….
If your diet is high in sugars, as most American diets are, then you are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. The sugars can come from the food we eat, the drinks we drink, the sugars we add to our drinks, the gum that we chew and the suckers that we suck on. Sugars are the fuel for the bugs that cause our dental problems (thus the term “sugar bugs” for our pediatric patients).
It is interesting to note that some people fight the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities quite well. Some folks fend off the gum disease bugs fine, but don’t fight off the cavity bugs too well. And, finally, there are those who have great natural defenses against tooth decay, but are not able to battle gum disease bugs.
I often use blood pressure and diabetes as an example of ills that affect some people and not others. Allergies can be included in this group as well. If you have a propensity for tooth decay and/or gum disease, then we have to work harder to prevent problems in your mouth. That is no different than any other disease or affliction.
You have probably figured out by now that the bacteria that cause cavities are different bugs than the bacteria that cause gum disease. You are correct. But, the bottom line is that sugar intake in any form will disrupt the natural balance of both the good and the bad bacteria in your mouth. When the bad bugs begin to proliferate and overtake the good bugs cavities and gum disease begin to be a problem.
I have been practicing dentistry for over 25 years. Over that time I have seen hundreds and thousands of dental patients. After all of those years, I still marvel at the fact that each and every one of us is truly different. We are so very unique.
If you grasp that fact then you can better understand that even if we have similar diets, with similar sugar intake, some people might be more readily susceptible to tooth decay than others. And, on the other side of the coin, some folks might fight off those sugar bugs better than others. It is the same for gum disease.
At Artistic Dentistry of Atlanta we treat every patient as an individual. If you have gum disease or lots of cavities we not only treat the problem, but we work with you to figure out why you have the problem. Then we go one step further and develop an individualized plan to help eliminate and control your tooth decay and your gum disease.
You are indeed unique; you have been dealt your own special hand in the card game of life. If dental problems exist we are here to help you understand your problems and find solutions. We want you to have the opportunity to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.
Peter V. Vanstrom, DDS, PC
Artistic Dentistry of Atlanta