Elma Family Dental

Tooth Decay

How can you deter decay to avoid negative reports from your dentist and nagging oral pain? First, you must understand what the causes of tooth decay are.  Cavities are areas of decay on teeth, and they can form on any surface of a tooth. To repair a cavity, the decay must be removed and it is often replaced with a man-made substance called a filling. The Elma Family Dental can replace the missing tooth structure with traditional amalgam fillings or newer composite white fillings.

The Cause

A healthy mouth contains natural, good bacteria that neutralize acids and help clean up food particles. This bacteria and your saliva also help strengthen areas of demineralization on teeth by restoring the minerals that protect teeth from decay.

Sometimes bad bacteria, plaque, can throw a healthy mouth’s balance into chaos. Plaque is made from mucus, saliva, decaying food, and bacteria.  It is a sticky substance that can build up on your teeth. Harmful bacteria in plaque emit an acid that eats away tooth enamel to create cavities. This acid can eat into the tooth, through the enamel, through the dentin, causing pain where nerves and blood vessels are vulnerable. Often a cavity that grows to affect the dentin must undergo a root canal or extraction. In short, tooth decay can kill teeth.

The Cure

To prevent tooth decay, see your dentist at least twice each year for a thorough cleaning and oral exam. At home, you should brush your teeth with a soft tooth brush after each meal and floss daily. Mouthwash and fluoride rinses can help destroy harmful bacteria and re-mineralize teeth. Of course, staying away from foods high in sugars and starches will help since bad bacteria consider these two items a delicacy.

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