Tooth decay occurs when the sugar from food particles and oral bacteria combine and form an acid that eats away at your tooth enamel. The acid erodes the enamel, reaching the inner layer of your teeth, called dentin. If the decay isn’t treated, it can reach the inner chamber of your teeth, called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves, so once the decay reaches the pulp, it can cause a lot of pain.
Treatment for tooth decay will depend on how severe the decay is. Mild or moderate decay can be treated with dental fillings. More extensive decay, or decay that has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, will require more extensive treatment. This will usually include either a root canal or a dental crown. However, it is best to prevent them from occurring rather than getting them treated later on. Here are some of the best means to avoid cavities.
Brushing for two minutes
We recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day. Ideally, brush after every meal and floss after brushing to remove any particles stuck in between teeth. This prevents the deposit of harmful microbes on the teeth and forming of tartar accumulations.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in food and water. Many regular water systems also add fluoride to the water. This mineral can help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities.
Dental sealants create a barrier against bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. Dental sealants are easy to apply, painless, and last for several years. Dental sealants can be applied as soon as a child’s primary teeth erupt, which is around age 6 to 7. Permanent teeth can also be sealed as soon as they erupt.
Chewing sugar-free gum can benefit your oral health in a few different ways. The act of chewing increases saliva production. This saliva helps to bathe the teeth and wash away food debris, bacteria, and acids. Sugar-free gum typically contains xylitol, which may also help to prevent cavities.
Smoking damages your gums and teeth in a number of ways. When you smoke, bacteria build up in your mouth and cause bad breath. Over time, tobacco can lead to oral and throat cancer. Smoking contributes to gum disease. Tobacco stains your teeth and causes bad breath.
Regular dental visits
Routine dental visits allow your dental team to monitor your oral health, provide professional cleanings, apply fluoride treatments, and spot issues in their earliest stages. This early intervention can help save you from more extensive, expensive procedures in the future.
One of the best ways to keep tooth decay at bay is to maintain a healthy diet. A diet that is high in sugars and starches may put you at risk of developing caries. Avoiding sugary and starchy foods is important, but so is eating a well-balanced diet that provides your body with plenty of vitamins and minerals that will support your oral health.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Cochise Caring Dentistry, call (520)-458-1989 or schedule an online consultation.