Discovering How Cavities Form
Knowing how cavities form is an essential part of the dental care education you should receive from your Sterling Heights Dentist. It’s best to look at your own teeth as early as possible. This will ensure you can build good oral care habits that will last you a lifetime. When you are able to fully understand how cavities form, you will see why regular brushing and mindful eating are essential in keeping your teeth healthy.
Here’s a brief look into the process that leads to cavity formation:
- Hundreds of types of bacteria live inside a person’s mouth. While some are helpful, others are harmful because they contribute to tooth decay.
- Inside your mouth, there is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria called plaque. Whenever you eat sweet or starchy foods (good examples are bread, candy, cookies, juice, and soda), the bacteria in plaque use the sugar and starch to produce acids. These acids then eat away at your teeth’s hard surface.
- Our teeth are constantly exposed to the acids created by bacteria. When this happens the enamel on your teeth will begin to lose minerals. White spots can form on areas where these minerals have been lost.
- At this stage, tooth decay can still be prevented. There are minerals in your saliva that can help restore the lost minerals on your teeth. The fluoride in water and in the toothpaste you use for brushing also help restore the minerals.
- If bacteria produces more acids than you can eliminate from regular brushing, then tooth decay will continue and cavities will eventually develop.
How can you prevent cavities from forming?
Be mindful of eating habits (both your own and your children’s).
Remember, foods that are rich in starch and sugar are the specific targets of harmful bacteria in the mouth. If you do eat such foods, make sure to brush your teeth afterwards. However, if you frequently eat these foods throughout the day without having a chance to brush afterwards, your teeth will be constantly subjected to acid attacks and cavity formation may be accelerated. As such, it’s ideal to monitor what you eat, how many times you eat, and how often you brush your teeth after eating.
Get sufficient fluoride.
Fluoride is a mineral that stops tooth decay and the formation of cavities in their tracks by preventing mineral loss. It replaces lost minerals, and helps reduce the harmful bacteria’s ability to produce acid.
You can get fluoride from the toothpaste you use for brushing. In addition, your community water supply may provide fluoridated water which can also help prevent cavities. And if your dentist feels that you need more fluoride, he or she can prescribe fluoride tablets or a fluoride mouth rinse that you can use as part of your oral care regimen. Contact Dr. Farhat at Dental 1 Care today to set a routine appointment and prevent any future cavities!