Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

April 19th, 2018



Acid Attack!

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid!

Acid is what eats a way at our enamel and causes cavities. Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.

The Litmus Test

Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy.

Acids vs. Carbs

Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy.

Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.

Note, sweets and starchy foods are lumped into one category since they both are composed of simple sugars in their most basic building blocks.  So if you think eating potato chips are healthier than eating M&Ms, they are not. You are eating sugar in both cases.

Does it matter how many times a day I snack on these foods or drinks?

The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to
occur.  Also, the frequency is just as important to note.  If you frequently snack on acidic foods or drinks and/or sweet or starchy foods and drinks, then you are MORE at risk to develop dental caries (cavities)!

For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.

Six ways to protect your teeth against tooth decay:

1.  Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches.

This isn't difficult, however you have to make a choice requiring will power.

2. Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal.

Decrease snacking.  If must snack between meals, try carrot sticks or celery sticks.

 3. Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages.

Make a mental note, drinking sodas or sweetened drinks are just empty calories that do not provide any nutritional value.

4. Swish with water after meals and snacks.

Trying doing it for 30 seconds each time.

5. Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup.

Floss at least once a day and brush twice a day.

6. And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page. Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.


Caries Risk Assessment - What's the big deal?

May 4th, 2017

What is the Caries Risk Assessment Tool?

The Caries Risk Assessment Tool is a research-based tool used to identify the risk factors that cause dental decay. It is also used to provide recommendations to reduce the risk of future cavities.  It has been well documented that dental decay affects children throughout their childhood and into their early adulthood.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that there has been a significant increase in dental decay in primary (baby) teeth.  This study further revealed that in U.S. children ages 2-5, one in four had dental decay.  Moreover, one half of children ages 12-15 had dental decay.

Why is this needed?

Instead of just filling cavities, this new method helps identify the cavity-forming risk factors and then provides guidelines to prevent future dental cavities.  The old method of just treating dental decay did not address the root factors that cause dental decay.  Several years ago, leading dental experts, ranging from educators, clinicians, and policy makers, converged to create the Caries Risk Assessment tool. Using the Caries Risk Assessment is a new paradigm shift that helps health care providers and educators provide specific recommendations to decrease the risk of getting dental caries.

What are the categories?

There are 3 risk categories:  High, Moderate, and Low

For each category there are recommendations based on the child’s age.

Some common recommendations include: nutrition changes, use of fluoride supplements, sealants, and more frequent cleaning and checkups.

Still need more information?

For additional information you may contact these organizations:

I've got it, what should I expect at my child's next dental visit?

At your child's next dental checkup visit, you will be asked a few questions that will help determine your child's risk for dental decay.  These responses will be used along with the information Dr. Allen Job gather's during your child's examination to determine your child's risk for dental decay.  Dr. Job and his team will be review that information with you at the end of the appointment.

How often will the Caries Risk Assessment be performed?

The Caries Risk Assessment will be performed each time at you're child's checkup appointment.  This is an ongoing process.   Our goal at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is to prevent dental decay from starting in your child.  This involves providing you with easy ways to prevent dental decay. Our secondary goal is to convert Moderate and High Risk patients into Low Risk patients.

Contact our office, All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen Job.  Dr. Job and his team will be able to provide you with more information for your child at his or her visit.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

5 Things You Must Know About Dental Sealants

April 17th, 2017

1. What are they?

A dental sealant is a protective coating that is placed over the grooves of a tooth to prevent dental cavities.  Sealants help protect the chewing surface of teeth.  Sealants are generally placed on molars, but sometimes can be placed on hard to reach crevices on other teeth.

2. How are the done?

Once the tooth is cleaned and dried, the sealant material is placed onto the grooves of the tooth.  A curing light is then used to harden the liquid sealant into a hard, waterproof, cavity fighting shield.

3. Do I need to get my teeth numbed for sealants to be placed?

No. The process of placing a sealant is quick and painless.  No local anesthesia is needed.

4. How do I maintain them?

Brush and floss just like you would any other teeth. Also to prevent sealants from chipping avoid ice or hard candy.

5. How do I find out more about sealants?

Check out our website for more info about sealants.  Then, contact All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry and inquire about sealants for your child.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.