Dental decay is caused by oral bacteria interacting with complex carbohydrates (mostly sugars). We supply the carbohydrates to the bacteria by what we eat. Dr. Milan Somborac claims that white flour, white rice, and sugars are the modern agricultural scourges to your teeth.
Tooth decay is a chain reaction.
- Eating sugar starts the process, especially if the sugar sticks to your teeth.
- The metabolic action of bacteria on the sugar produces an acid.
- The acid begins to dissolve your tooth enamel. (At this point the process is still reversible.)
- Acid dissolution continues into the dentin of your tooth (the layer between your enamel and your dental nerve) and in severe cases may penetrate to the nerve itself, causing nerve death—in very severe cases, it can even cause your death.
In today’s era of modern dentistry, it is possible to restore your teeth to the level of function that you had before by removing the soft tooth structure (decay) left behind by acid dissolution. Restorative dentistry includes fillings, crowns, and root canals.
Most of our approaches to dental decay are technological not dietary. We place pit and fissure sealants to change your tooth anatomy by closing off small gaps that can trap bacteria. We add fluoride to water and prescribe fluoride use to strengthen enamel and make your tooth more resistant to cavities. These, in addition to our restorative arsenal, mean that people are keeping their teeth longer than their ancestors.
Dr. Somborac believes that changing the modern diet might be a better way to prevent tooth decay. He suggests avoiding all refined complex carbohydrates.
*Note: This article is not meant to replace the clinical judgment of your healthcare providers.
Somborac, DDS, Milan, Your Mouth, Your Health: Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, and the Mouth-Body Connection, 2nd Edition, Biomed General, 2016
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Road
Lorain, OH 44053