Trusting your dentist is a desirable thing, and so is following their recommendations. But, in real life, you have to ask some questions, even of a dentist you trust. For instance, what if I told you that the advice you've been getting may be completely wrong when it to comes to staying cavity-free? Let's begin with the biggest lie: "If you limit your sugar intake, you can virtually eliminate cavities." Sugar is only a very small portion of a much bigger problem--because sugar is actually food for the bacteria that causes cavities. And it gets worse: it isn't just sugar that feeds the bacteria. If you really wanted to limit cavities by controlling everything that goes in your mouth, especially sugar, you'd have to stop people from eating anything with carbohydrates of any kind. Given our delight with sugar (and the equal delight of our mouth bacteria when you consume it), this is an unrealistic goal. It's much easier to get rid of the bacteria that cause your cavities than to try to control the sugars that you (and they) consume.
Mouth bacteria will happily feed on anything that can break down into sugars in your mouth, so worrying so much about a sugary diet as the chief cavity culprit is like trying to prevent water seepage in your basement by trying to stop the rain. Of course, controlling diet does make a difference, and is important also. For instance, refined sugars and carbohydrates, and fake sugars like high fructose corn syrup, are actually dangerous. Avoid them like the plague, and limit your intake with as much determination as you can muster. There's more: want to limit cavities in your mouth? Control the acid in your mouth! Acid is the enemy. Control the acid and you control the health of your mouth, and your cavities along with it. Period. I'll even go one step further and say that control the acid and you control your health. In upcoming blogs, I will dig deeper into sugar and acid and how they affect your teeth and your health. Meantime, practice just saying no.