Tooth decay refers to a tooth that has deteriorated. It is commonly referred to as a cavity. What a lot of people don’t understand is that a cavity doesn’t become painful until it has progressed to the root of the tooth, but this doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a lot of time for a cavity to deteriorate a tooth enough for you to be aware through pain. This is why everyone should take steps to keep their teeth healthy and free of tooth decay through every day actions.
Learn the common causes of tooth decay and what you can do to prevent it.
Accumulation of Bad Bacteria
Bad bacteria accumulates in your mouth when you eat and drink but do not clean your mouth or teeth. Bad bacteria releases acids, which are corrosive to the teeth and eventually wear them down. The bad bacteria can lead to gradual tooth decay that you may not even notice until it has progressed significantly. In order to prevent bad bacteria from accumulating in your mouth, it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
Frequent snacking means food particles are stuck in between your teeth for many hours. If you eat a lot of snacks, particularly sugary and starchy foods, it can lead to a buildup of bad bacteria in your mouth. If you snack several times a day, you could have food particles stuck in your teeth for an entire day before it gets removed through brushing and flossing. Therefore, it’s best to brush your teeth after you snack, especially if you eat foods that are particularly high in sugar or starches, or are easy to get stuck in your teeth.
Sugary Foods and Drinks
The biggest cavity-causing culprits are candies, chocolates, baked goods, white bread, ice cream, soda, and milk. The starch in baked goods makes it difficult for saliva to wash it away easily, and they get stuck in between your teeth. When they are stuck for several hours, it can rot and cause a proliferation of bacteria.
Not Eating Enough of Teeth-Saving Foods
Yogurt, apples, broccoli, carrots, celery, cheese, almonds, and fish help maintain healthy teeth. It’s important to feed your body foods that help strengthen it – including your gums and teeth – to decrease the damage of normal wear and tear.
Lack of Fluoride
Fluoride helps create strong teeth that are more resistant to corrosion. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that strengthens the enamel, making it tough and thick. In some cases, it can even help reverse early signs of enamel damage. An easy way to ensure your teeth get access to fluoride is to simply choose a toothpaste that has fluoride.
There are certain drugs and treatments that cause dry mouth. Having a healthy flow of saliva helps wash off food particles from teeth, and it also counters the effect of acid production. Without adequate saliva flow, the bad bacteria will easily win the battle, and cavities will be a frequent issue. If you take medications that cause dry mouth, find out if you can take an alternative medication instead. If this isn’t possible, talk to your dentist about what you can do to reduce dry mouth while you are on the drug.
Tooth Decay Prevention and Treatment in St. Paul
There are dental treatments that can help prevent the development of tooth decay. One example is fluoride treatments. At Hagerman Dental Care, we recommend regular dental visits to stay on top of your dental health and address issues before they snowball into bigger problems. To detect dental cavities in the earliest stages, we use the latest in cavity-detecting technology called DEXIS CariVu.
Visit us today and see how we can help you achieve and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. To request an appointment, call Hagerman Dental Care at (651) 646-2392 or submit a request now. We look forward to serving you in our dental clinic in St. Paul.