A: Every time we enjoy a sugary snack or beverage, our teeth become more susceptible to cavities. Saliva is a protective barrier for your teeth. Some people’s saliva is able to buffer or offset how sugar impacts their teeth; others aren’t as fortunate. The mineral makeup and the quality of saliva is part of the reason as to why some people have never had a cavity. Although saliva protects your teeth, it can lead to problems for your gums. Certain saliva types and qualities are contributing risk factors for gum disease. Most adults accumulate tartar on their teeth around and under the gumline. Tartar is a porous calcified deposit and the primary cause of gum disease. If you had the ability to be a microscopic scuba diver, tartar would resemble a coral reef. Within these concave areas, bacteria and germs populate and grow, irritating the gums. If left untreated over a period of time, the gums and jaw bone recede or melt away. Gums that bleed easily and are sore when trying to floss are signs of gum disease. Even if it’s been awhile, don’t risk waiting. Call your friendly dentist.
Information provided by Dr. Steven Neville, Bondurant Family Dentistry, 100 Second St. N.E., Bondurant, 515-967-4002.