Dental cavities are one of the most common health problems faced by Americans, and they can affect patients of all ages. Cavities can have serious implications for your oral health, but they are preventable. To protect your smile, you should work with your family dentist to develop a plan to prevent cavities.
How Cavities Develop
Cavities occur when the oral bacteria found in plaque – a thin, sticky biofilm that clings to your teeth -create acid byproducts in your mouth. The bacteria begin to attack the hard enamel of your teeth and that acid weakens the enamel. This process creates small holes in the teeth.
Eventually the bacteria found in plaque can make their way to the underlying dentin layer, which is softer and more easily compromised by the acid. If left untreated, the bacteria can ultimately reach the innermost core of the teeth. This is why it’s so important to address cavities as early as possible.
The Consequences of Cavities
The costs of tooth decay can be significant, leaving patients with:
- Damaged teeth
- Increased risk of gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Bone loss
Not only can these issues affect your smile, but they can also compromise your overall health by limiting your ability to eat nutritious foods and introducing inflammation to the body. In fact, poor oral health seems to have a relationship with systemic issues like diabetes, depression and heart disease.
Five Steps To Cavity Prevention
Cavity-causing plaque forms when patients fail to clean their teeth thoroughly and/or consume too much sugar that the bacteria feed on. These tips can help you reduce your risk factors for cavities by keeping plaque at bay.
- Brush your teeth twice each day for two minutes at a time. Use an ADA-approved toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Check in with a dental hygienist or your family dentist to make sure that you are using proper brushing technique.
- Floss your teeth daily to minimize plaque accumulation between the teeth and along the gumline.
- Drink an adequate amount of water to stay well hydrated and maintain saliva production.
- Eat a nutritious diet and limit your consumption of sweets, especially sticky candies that leave behind residue on the teeth.
- See your family dentist twice a year for professional teeth cleanings and checkups. These services will eliminate any lingering plaque and identify any decay early in the disease process, when it can be treated more conservatively.
Safeguard your smile by working to prevent cavities. If it’s been more than six months since your last checkup, call Fresh Leaf Dental today to schedule an appointment.