Cavities, What Are They and How Do They Form?
If you have ever noticed a hole in your tooth, then you have experienced for yourself a cavity. Caused by tooth decay, cavities are pits in your teeth that occur when bacteria erode through your enamel. Preventing tooth decay is as simple as maintaining a good oral health regimen, but an incredible 30 percent of the American population are not brushing their teeth often enough, and another 20 percent do not floss at all. We here at Fairmount Dental Center strongly believe that you can prevent tooth decay by taking good care of your teeth, saving yourself from unwanted pain and tooth loss later on in life.
What Can I Do to Prevent Cavities?
Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, the number one cause of cavities is bacteria. Your mouth is the host for millions and millions of bacteria, and while some of them are harmless, most of them are looking to do some lasting damage in your mouth. Your teeth are not the only things vulnerable to these germs; if you do not take measures to remove the bacteria, your gums and soft tissue can become inflamed and infected, too.
What you eat plays a huge role in the formation of cavities. Sugar not only feeds the bacteria in your mouth, but it is also quite acidic, making your teeth more likely to develop tooth decay. Bacteria can build up against your teeth and your gums in a scummy, filmy layer of residue called plaque. This plaque sticks to your teeth, and if you do not remove it regularly, the bacteria in it will release toxins and acids that can start to erode your enamel.
On the other hand, a healthy diet can help prevent tooth decay. Certain foods, such as those high in Vitamin K and calcium, have been shown to strengthen your teeth. You can find Vitamin K in foods like kale and broccoli. Calcium can be found in dairy foods like yogurt, milk, and cheese.
You can prevent cavities from forming by removing plaque from your teeth. This is as easy as making sure you brush your teeth twice per day and floss at least once per day. To floss correctly, you need to start with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Add a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste to your brush, and brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums for two minutes. Do this both morning and night.
To floss, you need to start with an 18-inch piece of dental floss. Work it between each tooth in a C-shape, making sure you get the floss between your teeth and up under your gum line to remove all trapped plaque and food debris. You can also use a remineralizing or antibacterial mouthwash after brushing your teeth, but please note that this is no replacement for brushing or flossing.
You can also make sure you do not get tooth decay by scheduling regular appointments at our office. We advise that you come in every six months for a checkup and a cleaning. If you are ready to schedule your appointment, or you want to learn more about how to prevent cavities, please give us here at Fairmount Dental Center a call at (503) 967-0877 today!