An acidic diet or a sugary diet can lead to cavities and tooth decay. When acid constantly attacks the teeth, the hard outer shell of the tooth—the enamel—keeps losing minerals. A white spot, which signals early decay, may appear on a tooth. The damage at this point can be reversed and the enamel can repair itself. But if the tooth decay process isn’t reversed, the enamel continues to get weaker as more minerals are lost and a cavity, a permanent hole in the tooth, forms and has to be fixed by a dentist.
The good news is that you can prevent cavities. Minerals in our saliva, such as calcium and phosphate, along with the protective fluoride can repair minerals and protect them from acid damage. We can get fluoride from a fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse or, in some cases, from fluoridated tap water. Your dentist may also apply a fluoride gel to teeth.
The mineral fluoride prevents tooth decay from worsening, replaces minerals that have been lost, prevents plaque, and stops germs’ ability to turn sugar and starches into corrosive acid.