Brushing your teeth but still getting cavities

Brushing your teeth but still getting cavities

During the pandemic, we’ve been trying to treat our bodies better, form better and healthier habits and protect ourselves. Most of us worked from home during the lockdown and decided to exercise at home, try and eat healthier etc. But despite the new positive and healthier routines, many people still ask why they keep getting cavities even if the brush their teeth at least twice a day?

There’s no right answer for this question that would fit everyone, but of course there are some general rules that can be applied. In order to get the answer, we need to cover the three basic questions about cavities:

  • How do cavities form?
  • What can we do to re-mineralize our teeth?
  • Is there a right time to brush our teeth?

So let’s start from the first one and work our way down.

How do cavities form?

All our teeth are made from minerals. There’s an outer (hard) coating called the enamel and the inner (softer) layer called the dentin. When we consume (eat and drink) starchy and sugary food, the bacteria in our mouth start producing acid. This acid gradually eats away the minerals from your enamel. Right after you eat/drink the pH level in your mouth become more acidic and teeth start to lose natural minerals.

60-90 minutes is necessary for the pH level to return to normal, after you eat and drink. But if we start eating something sweet again, the entire process of acid forming starts again, the pH level cannot normalize and the acid will continue to form and harm your enamel.

So when you drink a can of soda, it is actually better to drink it in a short period of time, than to sip it over an hour. The longer your teeth are exposed to acidic beverages, the worst it is.

How ca you help your teeth re-mineralize and prevent cavities?

The best thing that can help you re-mineralize your teeth is your saliva. Saliva acts like a barrier between the harmful acids and particles and your teeth and helps to flush them out. The same type of minerals that are found in your teeth can also be found in your saliva and it helps to restore calcium and phosphate back.

However, sometimes saliva on its own is not enough and we need to use fluoride. That’s why we use toothpaste that has fluoride or we drink tap water with fluoride, it helps embed itself into your saliva to protect your teeth. So it’s important that you add a little bit of fluoride to your saliva, the next time you drink an acidic beverage or eat a cookie.

Is there a right time to brush your teeth?

Brushing your teeth twice a day is important. We know that much. However, when is the best time to brush your teeth?

During our sleep, the plaque-forming bacteria in your mouth multiply so the first good time to brush your teeth is when you wake up. By doing this, you are removing the plaque that formed overnight and the excess bacteria. Furthermore, brushing your teeth in the morning give you an extra dose of fluoride, to strengthen your teeth before the first meal of the day.

Some people also like to brush after their meal. If you are one of those people, we highly encourage you to do so, but not right after your meal. Wait at least 30 minutes. When you brush right after a meal, you might be removing the healthy minerals from your saliva, causing more harm than good. Alternatively, you can rinse your teeth by drinking water or chewing sugarless chewing gum to increase the production of saliva which will then flush out the harmful particles and acids from your teeth.

Brushing your teeth before going to bed at night, can also reduce the number of bacteria that will multiply in your mouth and the amount of plaque formed in your mouth.

Generally, brushing twice a day is important. But if you want to maximize the effects of teeth brushing, you can do it in the morning after you wake up and at night, before you go to sleep.

Hopefully these tips will help you establish a healthier routine when it comes to dental hygiene. If you want to get your teeth checked or cleaned, make sure you contact us today and set up an appointment.


Leave a Reply

Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”