The Molecular Battle for Your Teeth

Your smile looks great! It’s bright, it’s shiny, and it’s free of cosmetic blemishes, like stains and discoloration. Yet, every day, your teeth fight a battle against usually-unseen forces that threaten to destroy them. Fortunately, modern dental hygiene products and techniques are designed to aid your teeth in their fight, either by strengthening them or by targeting the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Dental Hygiene vs. Tooth Decay

Although you can’t usually see the bacteria in your mouth, you can usually see and feel the plaque that they form when enough of them gather together. The sticky biofilm protects the germs as they cling to your teeth, some of them consuming refined sugar and producing acid that attacks your tooth enamel (the protective layer of mineral crystals that surrounds your teeth). The best way to protect your teeth on a daily basis is to brush and floss them after meals, or at least twice every day.

Fluoride vs. Oral Bacteria

Fluoride is a common component in today’s dental hygiene protocols. It’s an active ingredient in most toothpaste and mouthrinse brands, and fluoride is found in most municipal water supplies across the country. Over half a century ago, scientists found that fluoride has the ability to harden thin layers of tooth enamel, enhancing its ability to protect your teeth from decay. The mineral also inhibits bacteria’s ability to cling to your teeth’s surfaces, making it easier to wash away the microbes with toothpaste, water, and mouthwash.

Oral Bacteria vs. Fluoride

Incorporating fluoride into your hygiene routine can boost your defenses against tooth decay, but your mouth’s bacteria aren’t defenseless against the mineral. Researchers from Yale have discovered that many bacteria produce riboswitches that detect the presence of fluoride, which is toxic to certain bacteria. When the mineral’s detected, the riboswitches warn the germs to produce proteins that interrupt fluoride’s processes. The researchers hope that the findings will lead to treatments that can block bacteria’s anti-fluoride actions, increasing fluoride’s effectiveness against tooth decay-causing microorganisms.

About Your Southlake Dentists:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.