“I have soft teeth. It runs in the family”

This is a comment that I hear a lot at our Airdrie dental clinic. I wanted to talk about it because while there can be some truth to this (bacterial content in the saliva), the overwhelming majority of “soft teeth” result from something in our diet. A small tweak in what we are consuming could mean the difference between multiple cavities at each dental visit or no cavities at all!

How could this be? I see patients who have not been to the dentist in decades. They come in needing a good dental cleaning, but they don’t have a single cavity! They ‘got away’ with not visiting the dentist for so many years because they never had pain anywhere in their mouth. There were never any cavities that could grow into a broken tooth and/or an abscess.

What is the common link between these patients? They have very little acid or sugar in their diet. I ask them if they drink anything carbonated or put lemon in their water, and 100% of the time the answer is “no”.

Most people know that pop is not good for your health. But not too many people know the extent of the damage that it can have on teeth.

Why would they? There is not a picture on the drink labels like you find on cigarette boxes warning against lung cancer! I only myself really understood the true effects after practicing dentistry for years.

So.. what can you do for soft teeth?

If there is one pearl of advise that I could give to patients and those taking the time to read this long post, it’s that you’re doing your teeth a tremendous favour if you stay away from carbonated drinks and lemon water. If you are cutting down but can’t eliminate it completely, try using a straw and limiting it to mealtimes (avoid sipping on it all day long).

How much is too much? When it comes to acidic drinks, I have seen extensive damage on teeth in patients who consume it on a weekly basis. If you are a daily consumer, you can likely see the damage yourself.

If you already have damage from carbonated or acidic drinks, one way to counter it is to use a Fluoride rinse. These can be purchased at local convenience stores, like London Drugs. These rinses are different than anti-bacterial rinses such as Listerine which are more popular among patients. Fluoride rinses are purely for replenishing the lost minerals from teeth, which is ultimately what results in a cavity. They are between $15-$20 and are a tremendous help when trying to minimize the damage from acid. We have a few brands that we recommend at Yankee Valley Dental, but any fluoride rinse will be helpful.

Another point to keep in mind that we used to have fluoride in the water in Alberta, which we no longer do. This makes it even more important to use fluoride in your toothpaste, and consider getting an additional boost if you are at higher risk due to your diet or history of cavities.

Thank you so much for reading. 🙂

– Yankee Valley Team