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  • donnabrogan94

Why are exposed roots at a greater risk?

Recession can be caused by periodontal disease, poor occlusion or by brushing too hard. No matter the cause, it is irreversible. Once a person has clinical attachment loss the tissue never grows back. Teeth are made of enamel, dentin and cementum. We know that enamel is very hard and the smooth surfaces are usually resistant to decay. Decay usually occurs in adolescents and teens in the pits, fissures, and the contact between teeth. Teeth are most susceptible to decay immediately after they erupt and for 2 years after.

Dentin and cementum on the other hand are very soft due to the lower mineral content and smaller particle size. When you eat or drink, the pH level in your mouth drops below neutral, 7pH. Enamel demineralization starts at a pH of 5.5 while cementum and dentin require a much more subtle change in pH to 6.2-6.7. That is VERY close to neutral and even a small reduction in saliva makes the oral cavity take longer to reach neutral.

Let me share some pH levels of food you might eat today…apples 3.5, tomatoes 4.5, ketchup 3.9, bananas 5, avocado 6.5, spinach, carrots and tuna are 6, and if you are enjoying a beer while you read this....the pH is 4.5 and wine is 3 pH.

So let’s look at your day…you wake up in the morning and have coffee, your pH drops, brush your teeth, back to neutral, eat breakfast, pH drops, it takes 30-90 minutes to reach neutral, another cup of coffee at work, pH drops, 30-90 minutes to reach neutral, eat lunch, pH drops, 30-90 minutes to reach neutral, sip on cola (diet or sugar) pH drops, takes 30-90 minutes, afternoon snack, pH drops. You get the picture. Think of how much of the day you are in an acidic oral environment. Now that difference between 5.5 pH for enamel and 6.7 pH for cementum and dentin should really stand out to you. People with recession are in the acidic attack longer than those without. Add to that the fact that S mutans and lactobacilli thrive in an acidic environment and you have a recipe for decay.

Photo by Jeff Baggett DDS

Photo courtesy Jeff Baggett DDS

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