Our teeth are vital to our health. We eat with them which nourishes our bodies and helps us stay strong and healthy. They also make up our smile which helps us make a first impression whenever we meet someone new. Humans grow two distinct sets of the teeth in their lifetime: our baby teeth and our adult teeth. Once your adult teeth have erupted, usually by the age of thirteen, it’s crucial to take care of them as they are supposed to last the rest of your life. The most commonly diagnosed threat to a long life for your teeth are cavities.
Cavities are the name used for spots of tooth decay on our teeth. Tooth enamel in these spots has weakened and broken open, creating a hole (or cavity, hence the name). This exposes the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This can make your teeth sensitive to temperature or touch and can make chewing properly difficult, limiting your diet. Cavities are estimated to be the most frequently diagnosed illness from which humans suffer after the common cold. But what causes this threat to a healthy smile?
Can we do anything to prevent cavities?
Our mouths are alive with bacteria. These living organisms concentrate at our gum line and between our teeth- hard-to-brush places- and form plaque. When we eat carbohydrate rich foods that are primarily sugar or starch, these mouth-dwelling bacteria break down the sugars and starches, creating acids. The acids bind to the plaque, weakening the enamel of our teeth.
Your dentist treats cavities with fillings, plugs made of various materials. Fillings stop the process of decay by blocking entrance by bacteria and acids to the compromised part of the tooth. Fillings can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Your Ridgetop Dental dentist will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.
There is an an old adage that says ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. Dentists recommend brushing after meals or at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities. It is also suggested to cut down on carbohydrates and hydrate yourself properly. A dehydrated, dry mouth accelerates the breakdown of your teeth by acids by not washing away the acids. Daily flossing is also recommended as it clears away the plaque and prevents the formation of cavities in the spaces between your teeth.
The most important step you can take is to schedule regular examinations and cleanings at your dentist’s office. If you suspect you may be suffering from a cavity, would like to know more about cavities and how to prevent them or need a preventative teeth cleaning, don’t wait. Talk to your dentist today. For those patients in the Sterling area, call 703.520.7410 or schedule an appointment online to consult with your Ridgetop Dental dentist.