There is a constant battle in our mouths, a battle between us and decay causing bacteria. Our mouths are highly vulnerable to decay causing bacteria because it is constantly exposed through chewing food, engaging in conversation and even breathing. There are ways to combat it, and we can discuss tips and tools to help during your regular dental cleaning. If the battle is lost, our team at Cassity & Legacy Implants and Periodontics can remove the decay and restore the tooth.
The decay of a tooth is the destruction or breakdown of a tooth. There is a lot of bad information surrounding tooth decay – some people think that it’s normal for children to have it, and that adults rarely do. The truth is, children are increasingly reaching adulthood without ever having a cavity due to better dental education and preventive care. Additionally, adults can develop tooth decay. They only see a reduction in the likelihood if they have applied better oral hygiene care to their routine.
Tooth decay begins with plaque. Plaque is a naturally occurring substance that is being constantly created by our mouths. It is a blend of saliva along with anything else that is in our mouths, including food debris and bacteria. Some of this plaque is naturally swallowed, and some of it lands and rests on the surfaces of our teeth, between our teeth and along the gumline. It is sticky and yellow in appearance. If the food debris contains sugar, which is often easy to find, the bacteria will feed on the sugar and then produce an acid that causes cavities and decay to our teeth; this is known as caries.
First, the acid will erode the enamel of our teeth, as it creates a hole in the enamel, the bacteria can then find its way into the layers of our teeth, or even work below the gumline attacking the gum tissue and eventually the bone. This can cause the patient to have decay, gum disease, infect the pulp of the tooth and even cause the death of the tooth.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Decay?
There are ways to combat the decay causing bacteria in our mouths. Our hygienist is happy to discuss tips specific to your needs. In general we recommend:
- Saliva Production: Saliva is a natural cleaner in our mouth, and though it needs our help, saliva is important. Some patients may have decreased saliva production due to medical issues, medication they are taking, or more. We can discuss ways to increase saliva production if this is a challenge for you.
- Drink Water: Water does not replace the work that saliva performs, but drinking water can help remove debris that bacteria can feed on in your mouth. Drinking water is good for your oral health.
- Daily Brushing and Flossing: Brushing and flossing your teeth removes plaque, bacteria and debris. This is such an important step to incorporate in your daily routine. We can demonstrate improved brushing and flossing techniques during your cleaning appointment
- Preventive Care: We have some solutions that can assist you in the battle of tooth decay. Preventive care including fluoride and dental sealants can make a huge difference in your oral health when needed