All About Tooth Decay

Every American who has attended an appointment with a dentist has heard about tooth decay at a young age. We learn that it is important to follow a routine of thoroughly brushing our teeth and flossing to avoid developing oral diseases and cavities. Although we are taught to follow the guidelines of practicing oral hygiene, many people become lax about their daily brushing routine because they don’t quite understand what causes tooth decay.

So, what exactly is tooth decay, and what causes it?

Tooth decay is simply the destruction of your teeth which is caused by the bacteria in your mouth.
Everybody has heard their parents or dentist say that poor oral hygiene and sweet foods cause cavities, which is quite true. There are billions of bacterial organisms that live inside your mouth which receive their nutrition every time you eat or drink something. You may notice a film that develops over your teeth occasionally; this film is known as plaque, which is simply a large concentration of bacteria which is living in the same area. The bacteria in your mouth feed off of the sugars in your food, and excretes an acid which eats away at the enamel on your teeth. Over time, the slow process of tooth decay leads to holes in your tooth enamel (cavities), which can also lead to severe tooth degeneration if left untreated.
Now that you know about tooth decay and what causes it, you may find yourself feeling a bit more motivated to brush and floss at least twice a day. Be sure that you are brushing your teeth thoroughly and properly while giving special attention to brushing near your gum line to avoid bacterial buildup which causes gum disease. Talk to your dentist about any questions you may have about your oral health.

Cavity Prevention: Keep Your Smile Cavity-Free

While skipping brushing and other good dental habits every once in a while seems like an okay thing to do, it’s not exactly keeping your cavities at bay. And eventually, dental care neglect can be a problem in the long run. So keep your mouth cavity-free with these simple strategies.

Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste

Brush your teeth thoroughly at least two times daily, using fluoride-containing toothpaste. Fluoride has cavity-fighting benefits that help make your enamel more resistant to decay. Also, it’s good to know that it is best to use gentle circular stokes when brushing to avoid further damaging your tooth enamel.

Use the right kind of toothbrush

Do make certain that you are using a soft bristled brush so as not to scratch the enamel. It also promotes longer brushing times so you can clean your teeth better.

Floss daily

Some of the worst kinds of cavity form between the teeth so make sure you are flossing daily and carefully. Food debris can get caught between your teeth and brushing or rinsing isn’t always going to work. That’s why it is recommended that we floss before brushing to loosen the particles, making it easier to be whisked with a brush.

Avoid sugary snacks and beverages

They may be delicious, but eating sugary snacks and drinks are not doing your mouth any good. These are rich in acids which can cause tooth decay. Avoid snacks that get stuck in the pits of your teeth. Opt for tooth-healthy foods instead.

Quit smoking

This is a no-brainer. It is common knowledge that when you smoke, you are practically raising your risk of cavities and other diseases. Some products like tobacco even causes gum inflammation which may lead to specific types of oral cancer.

Consider treatment options like dental sealants

A sealant is a plastic coating that protects your teeth from plaque and acid. It is applied to the back of the chewing surface of the teeth to seal off crannies and grooves that tend to collect food bits. Other treatment options include, fluoride application, fillings, crowns, root canals, and tooth extractions.

Make visits to your dentist a regular thing

A routinely visit to your dentist will ensure that your mouth’s free from cavities and other dental issues. Talk to your dentist if you’re not sure about the options available to treating and preventing tooth decay. Our dentists in Scottsdale will be more than happy to help.

About The Author

Dr. Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle completed her Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Glendale, AZ. As a leader in the field of cosmetic dentistry and full-mouth rehabilitation, she is committed to providing exceptional dental care to the local community. She is also affiliated with prestigious organizations, including the American Dental Association. Her extensive involvement in these reputable institutions speaks to her commitment to advancing the field of dentistry.