The Epic Thanksgiving Battle for Your Teeth
This time of year, visions of turkeys and pies and cranberries (oh my!) dance inside the minds of Americans all across the country preparing to celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving feast. It is a holiday notorious for gluttony and over-indulgence, and the feast is typically one that even the health-conscious cannot refrain from enjoying. Unfortunately, as you enjoy the taste of your food, little microbes inside your mouth enjoy the influx of nutrients that provides them fuel and energy to mount a formidable attack on your oral health. Chandler dentist Dr. Mark Arooni explains the epic battle for the health of your teeth that is sure to occur this Thanksgiving.
A Bombardment of Bacterial Fuel
If you’ve ever run your tongue across your teeth and felt an uncomfortable collection of stuff, then you are familiar with dental plaque. This same film can sometimes be visible, which may make your even more self-conscious than merely feeling it. That sticky substance is actually a collection of oral bacteria: billions of different kinds that have banded together and formed the biofilm to protect them. Brushing and flossing usually removes this film from your teeth and gums for awhile, but bacteria is an inherent inhabitant of your mouth, and you cannot permanently remove them from your oral cavity. Some of these microbes, especially the bacterial strain Streptococcus mutans, feed on the sugars and carbs you eat and convert them into acid, which erodes your tooth enamel to weaken your tooth’s protection. The more you eat, the more bacteria eat and the more acid they produce. Once your enamel is weakened enough, bacteria can slip past it to infect the softer underlying portion of your tooth. This process is called tooth decay, and the holes in your teeth left by the infection are called cavities.
Allies on the Dinner Table
Luckily, not everything you eat this Thanksgiving is bound to destroy your oral health. For instance, new research has shown that cranberries can benefit your teeth by disrupting the enzymes oral bacteria use to construct the building blocks of plaque. By eliminating or inhibiting plaque formation, you can render S. mutans and other acid-producing bacteria harmless. Red wine has also been shown to possess S. mutans-fighting capabilities, which is great news for the adults at the table.
To learn more about protecting your oral health this season, schedule an appointment with Dr. Arooni by calling our Chandler dental office at 480-855-1200. Located in the 85224 area, Lakeview Dental Care proudly serves patients from Chandler, Gilbert, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, and all surrounding communities.
By Mark Arooni DDS