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Many Dental Issues are Preventable

Apr 30, 2021 ● By Bernice Teplitsky
Two wooden toothbrushes in a glass mason jar sitting on the counter

Photo by Superkitina on Unsplash

There are several factors that could contribute to ideas of “inherited” bad teeth or surprise dental issues. The most common are diet and brushing techniques. These are important to consider because sugar intake is a big contributor of decay. Not removing all of the food on and in-between our teeth can lead to bad breath or places for bacteria to grow. What’s not commonly taken into consideration is the transmission of bacteria and the side effects of constant snacking.

Everyone has both good and bad bacteria present in the mouth, and it can be transmitted via saliva. Someone with dental issues may have more bad bacteria present, harboring tooth decay and periodontal disease. When sharing food using the same spoon, a drink from the same cup/container or a product such as lip balm or lipstick, we may be sharing more than we think, because bacteria can be transmitted in these ways.

Just as humans carry bacteria in the mouth, so do our pets. One strain to consider is spirochetes, which is responsible for destroying the blood vessels of the gums and resulting in periodontitis and other gum disease. Today, we are kissing our pets on the mouth or nose and letting them lick our faces more than ever. We must keep in mind that as we share affection for our pet, they could be, without fault of their own, sharing a bit more.

We also need to consider how constant snacking may be affecting our dental health. We have become a society that doesn’t always have three square meals per day, but instead have added snacking throughout the day. Eating frequent snacks, even healthy ones, such as berries, causes our mouth’s pH levels to drop. A healthy oral pH level is around 7, and cavity-causing bacteria can be found around 5.5. Every time we eat, our pH level decreases, and if we are not allowing it time to rise back up, we are not allowing our teeth to naturally re-mineralize, which makes the teeth prone to decay.

Bernice Teplitsky, DDS, NMD, is the owner of Wrigleyville Dental, located at 3256 N. Ashland, in Chicago. For more information and appointments, call 773-975-6666, email [email protected] or visit