Although more common in children, cavities can affect anyone, and will cause serious damage to your oral health if left untreated. The good news is that dentists have numerous ways to treat tooth decay using advanced technology; however, preventing tooth decay as much as possible is always the best option. By maintaining your teeth’s health, you are defending your mouth against other potential oral health problems, as well, like gum disease.
What are Cavities?
Teeth enamel is the super-resilient, outer layer which protects your teeth, and is comprised mainly of minerals. The entire surface of it is composed of tiny cracks which absorb pressure, making enamel one of the most resilient substances on Earth. Yet, a type of bacteria in your mouth, called Streptococcus mutans, coats your enamel in a layer referred to as plaque, then excretes acid onto your teeth to weaken and compromise their enamel.
Plaque will continuously accumulate on your teeth unless it is cleaned off. The acids produced by the plaque attack your enamel, siphoning the minerals your teeth need to replenish it. This attack continues until it produces holes in the enamel, which cannot be repaired. Infectious bacteria are then free to attack the dentin, the main layer of the tooth. Once you have a cavity, you will have to go to the dentist, who will be able to fill the tooth to protect it from further harm.
Prevent Cavities with Better Hygiene
In order to avoid tooth decay, it is important that you follow all the guidelines your dentist provides. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss once, preferably before going to bed. Make sure you reach all of the surfaces of your teeth to scrub away plaque. Avoid foods that cling to your teeth for long periods of time, or brush or rinse your mouth immediately after eating. Use fluoridated toothpaste, as fluoride strengthens the minerals that make up your enamel. Watch for symptoms of cavities, including toothaches, sensitivity, or visible pits on the surface in your teeth. Let us know if you experience these symptoms, so we can examine your teeth and suggest an appropriate treatment plan.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE FAMILY DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.