How To Protect Your Teeth From Cavities
How does a cavity form in a tooth? First, for a tooth to be susceptible to decay, the bacteria which we all carry in our mouths must adhere themselves to the tooth by combining with proteins in saliva and food debris, and forming a layer known as plaque.
These bacteria consume the food debris with which they come into contact, and often digest it within a matter of mere minutes. Bacteria are very fond of easily digestible foods like potato chips, candy, ice cream, milk, cakes and other foods containing carbohydrates.Eventually, these bacteria need to “relieve” themselves and do so by excreting an acid which if concentrated in one area, can actually dissolve the calcium in a tooth.
Typical “acid attacks” during waking hours are tempered by the presence of saliva in our mouths which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent, diluting the acid and therefore it’s effectiveness in dissolving teeth. The bad news is that our mouths stop producing saliva after we’ve fallen asleep. This allows these bacteria to inflict their severest damage to the teeth when we least expect it, while we are asleep!
Oral irrigation devices can also be helpful in removing food particles after meals, especially from around bridgework and other hard-to-clean areas. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every few weeks in order to safeguard against reinfecting your mouth with old bacteria which can collect on the brush.
Finally, remember to see a dentist (at least) every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning.
Left neglected, cavities can lead to root canal infection, permanent deterioration of decayed tooth substance, and even loss of the tooth itself.
Yours for better dental health,
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