Facts about Dental Cavities
Most of us have experienced a cavity at some point in our lives. But what causes them, and how can they be prevented?
Foods and drinks that we consume leave a sticky film on our teeth called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on sugars from the foods we eat. This bacteria produces acid, which gradually weakens and erodes our tooth enamel, eventually leading to cavities.
While sugary foods and drinks are the main culprits in the formation of acid, sugar is not the only problem. Anything with carbohydrates, including potatoes, bread, and fruits and vegetables, can be a launch pad for acid formation. Of course, foods and drinks that are acidic in nature, such as soda, can add to the problem on their own.
Though a cavity can occur anywhere on a tooth, they are more likely to form in areas that are hard to clean. The spaces between teeth are great places for cavity producing bacteria to thrive. Chips and cracks in teeth can also become cavity harvesting grounds. If you get a cavity, you may know. But chances are, you will not notice it until it gets large enough to be painful. Normally, by this stage, it has progressed enough that a root canal may be required.
Cavities and tooth decay can be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Here is how:
• Brush your teeth twice a day.
• Floss daily to clean the areas that cannot be reached with a toothbrush.
• Rinse daily with an anti-bacterial mouthwash to clean any remaining areas
• Visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning and oral exam. A professional cleaning is the only way to remove plaque that has hardened into tartar. Oral exams let your dentist spot small problems before they turn into big ones.
For more information, consult with a dentist.
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