Greeting San Antonio! Welcome back to the ongoing blog of Advanced Dental Associates. We recently treated an adult patient who had a cavity. She was greatly surprised because she hadn’t had a cavity since childhood.
What she didn’t know was that cavities can happen to anyone who has teeth. Children, teens, and adults all are at risk for developing cavities.
Cavities can be painful, and occur as decay breaks through the enamel of your teeth and leaves a hole in your tooth. For that reason, we’re going to use today’s blog to look at the things which cause cavities, and the Preventative Dentistry measures you can take to safeguard against them.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities are caused by the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a colorless film of bacteria; plaque develops from the food you eat, and the beverages you drink.
Plaque is acidic and eats away at the enamel of your teeth. This leaves holes in your enamel, and leaves the inside of your teeth vulnerable to decay. If left untreated, a cavity can cause you to lose that tooth. In addition, the decay can spread to other teeth and cause you to develop even more cavities.
Cavities can develop in any tooth, but are most likely to occur in your back teeth and premolars. These teeth have more surface area on which to collect food particles. These food particles promote the growth of bacteria, and the decay of your teeth.
People who frequently eat certain foods are also more likely to develop cavities. These foods include ’sticky’ substances such as chewy candy, honey, raisins and other dried fruits, ice cream, cookies, and cake. Essentially, these foods cling to your teeth, which makes it harder for your saliva to wash them away. Because they are stuck to your teeth in between brushings, they attract decay-causing bacteria for a longer period of time.
People who drink a lot of soda are also at a heighten risk for cavities. Soda is very acidic and eats away at the enamel of your teeth.This leaves your teeth more vulnerable to plaque and decay. All soda is acidic, no matter if you are drinking a clear soda or a diet soda, all of them contribute to tooth decay. Soda can be used to clean rust off of metal, so you can imagine what it does to the enamel of your teeth.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
There are a number of steps you can take on a daily basis to avoid cavities.
You should brush at least twice a day, for two minutes at a time. If possible, you should brush after every meal. But the time you spend brushing is more important. Most people simply do not brush long enough; many inexpensive toothbrushes on the market now include timers which light up or make a sound, these can be especially helpful for children.
Your choice in toothpaste can also be an important factor. Fluoride toothpastes can help strengthen the enamel of your teeth. No matter what kind of toothpaste you use, you’ll need to floss between your teeth. Brushing alone simply does not remove all the bacteria in your mouth.
You’ll also want to rinse your mouth out with water after every meal, and after brushing. Most public water supplies have added fluoride to them, so using tap water can actually benefit your oral health.
It is also of the utmost importance to visit your dentist at least twice a year. During a Dental Exam, we check for soft spots in your teeth which indicate the presence of a cavity. In addition, we take a set of x-rays to check the inner structure of your teeth for decay.
At Advanced Dental Associates, we offer several Preventive Dentistry services. During your Professional Teeth Cleaning, plaque will be removed from your teeth using our set of advanced dental tools. Removing this plaque helps prevent the development of cavities.
We also offer fluoride treatments for your teeth. A popular option is the traditional fluoride trays. We simply place a tray of fluoride over your upper and lower teeth for about a minute. We also offer a fluoride varnish, which is quickly becoming a popular choice. Fluoride is important because not only does it strengthen your enamel, it also helps your enamel recalcify and rebuild.
We also offer Dental Sealants. Dental Sealants are a plastic-based resin which we can quickly and painlessly apply to the top of your molars. Dental Sealants fill in many of the vulnerable ridges and grooves on molars, making them less susceptible to cavities.
Make An Appointment
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