You just can’t understate how important teeth are. They help us nourish our bodies by chewing our food for us. They also make up our smile which is how we make a good impression whenever we meet new people. We have two sets of the teeth in our lives: our primary or baby teeth and our secondary or adult teeth.
Once your adult teeth have finished growing in, usually by twelve or thirteen, it’s crucial that you care for them as you won’t be growing anymore naturally except possibly wisdom teeth in your late teens or early twenties. The most common threat to the longevity of your teeth are cavities.
What Is A Cavity?
Cavities are another name for holes where tooth decay has weakened our enamel to the point that it has broken open, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This makes the tooth vulnerable to bacteria which can cause infections as well as creating sensitivity to temperature and touch and can even lead to difficulty chewing properly. This sensitivity limits your dietary options and can cause you to not get all the nutrients you need.
Cavities are the most commonly diagnosed ailment with which humans suffer after the common cold but what causes them? And what can we do to fix them? And what can we do to make certain we never get them in the first place?
How Do Cavities Form?
Live bacteria dwell in our mouths, most of it relatively harmless on its own. These bacteria congregate in places that are hard for us to clean such as in between teeth and right at the gum line, living on the plaque coating our enamel in these areas. Plaque is made of saliva and food particles that combine into a clear, sticky substance.
When we eat foods that contain carbohydrates such as sugars (like in donuts and candy) or starches (like in potato chips), the bacteria in our mouths break these components down, creating acids. These acids bind to the plaque already on our teeth and eat away at their enamel, creating cavities.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Cavities are usually resolved by your dentist with the use of fillings, wherein the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced with various substances. This reinforcement halts the process of decay by denying any further bacteria and acids access to the already weakened enamel of the tooth.
Although fillings were traditionally silver, today they can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Lassiter will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.
As with many things, it’s far easier to care for something to prevent it from happening than to fix it once it breaks. This is also true for cavities. Brushing after meals or at least twice a day with a fluoride-infused toothpaste and flossing daily is recommended to remove the plaque that may have formed on your teeth. Dentists also recommend cutting down on carbohydrates and keeping yourself properly hydrated since dry mouth can actually help the acids break down your enamel faster.
Daily flossing helps clear away the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those hard to reach spaces between your teeth. The most important part of prevention is scheduling and keeping routine check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. For those patients in the Kingsland, GA area, call 912-208-2565 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Lassiter at Lassiter Family Dentistry. If you think you might have a cavity or would just like a cleaning to prevent them, contact us today!