When a tooth hurts, and it has not recently been damaged, the cause is often tooth decay—a dental condition that leads to the formation of cavities. While a toothache is usually the telltale warning sign of a cavity, tooth decay begins long before your tooth starts to hurt. By the time you feel a toothache, the cavity may have destroyed enough tooth structure to require a dental filling or root canal treatment. Fortunately, tooth decay and the cavities it forms are highly preventable, if you understand how they form and how you can strengthen your teeth against them.
What Are Cavities?
A cavity is an informal but appropriate name given to the hole that forms in a decaying tooth. Technically an infection of oral bacteria, tooth decay is progressive, and leaves a growing cavity in its wake as it spreads through your tooth’s structure. In large part, the trick to preventing tooth decay and cavities is to keep the protective enamel around your teeth strong enough to repel the oral bacteria that could infect them.
Tooth Decay Prevention
- Since oral bacteria are the main cause of tooth decay, controlling their population is paramount to tooth decay prevention. At least twice every day, brush and floss your teeth clean of plaque, which is a byproduct of oral bacteria, to prevent the microbes from becoming too strong.
- Bacteria attack your teeth’s protective enamel by converting sugars and other carbs into acids. The more bacteria are present, the more acids they produce, and the more likely you will develop a cavity. Besides keeping your teeth clean of plaque, you can also protect your teeth by limiting how often you snack throughout the day.
- Using toothpaste with fluoride will also boost your protection by strengthening the enamel around your teeth. The mineral bonds to highly-mineralized tooth enamel, allowing it to better repel bacteria from your tooth’s healthy structure.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE 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.