The 30-Minute-Nightmare of Tooth Decay
Have you ever told your kid to go brush their teeth after they’ve eaten? Please don’t do that right after they’ve eaten. They can actually do permanent damage to their teeth, little by little.
Please understand that no matter how well your child brushes their teeth, or you do it for them, there will ALWAYS be plaque remaining on the teeth. Cavities are a microscopic problem. Any simple carbohydrate can supply the food the plaque bacteria need. They, in turn, produce acid which dissolves away part of the tooth structure, whether enamel or dentin.
Although brushing and flossing are what everyone thinks of when trying to prevent cavities, what I’m about to describe is critically important to prevent cavities in the parts of teeth where brushing and flossing can never reach. Even mouthwash won’t help in these spots.
The biggest cavity prevention tool almost no one knows about is how to use the 30-Minute-Nightmare to your advantage.
Here’s a little excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book, Real Mom’s Dental Pocket Guide: Cavities.
Every time your child has a single bite or sip of something containing simple carbohydrates, the plaque bacteria begin to produce acid for about 30 minutes. This is the 30-minute nightmare. It happens so easily because many processed foods, including canned vegetables, contain sugar – one of the simplest of carbohydrates.
Here’s a list of things you might never have associated with cavity-promoting sugar:
• Fast food burgers and fries
• Canned soup
• Salad dressing
• Spaghetti sauce
• Barbecue sauces
• Asian sauces
• Most sauces in your fridge
• Granola bars
• Sports drinks
• Soy milk
Take a moment to consider the implications of that. Every time your child eats a cracker, even just one bite, they’re going to get about 30 minutes of acid production from their plaque. You now know this will dissolve minerals in the teeth. The teeth will begin to have a negative mineral bank balance.
The same applies for a single sip of juice or milk (with its lactose sugar). So it’s important to have plenty of time after the final bite or drink, and after the 30-minute nightmare has passed, for the teeth to remineralize. How many hours does your child go between bites or sips?
When you understand how cavities are formed, you’ll realize that it’s probably best to brush teeth BEFORE eating. This minimizes the amount of plaque on the teeth that will be exposed to simple carbs that exist in almost every meal.
It’s not a bad idea to brush after meals as well, but certainly not right after. Wait until the 30-minute-nightmare has passed.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post below. If you want to know the best ways to minimize the risk of cavities, or treat them when they occur, get a copy of my book Real Mom’s Dental Pocket Guide: Cavities.