The importance of our teeth cannot be overstated. Teeth help us chew our food, nourishing our bodies and helping us stay healthy and strong. The appearance of the teeth is a significant part of the first impression we make when we meet new people. We have two sets of teeth in our lifetimes: our baby teeth and our adult teeth. Once we have your adult teeth, usually by the age of twelve to thirteen, it’s very important to care for them properly as they need to last us the rest of our lives. One of the most common threats to a long life for your teeth are cavities.
Cavities are spots of tooth decay where tooth enamel has weakened and broken open, exposing the soft tissues and nerves within which are very sensitive. Once exposed this way, teeth can be sensitive to temperature or touch and even chewing properly can be difficult, limiting your diet. After the common cold, cavities are the most frequently diagnosed ailment from which humans suffer. What can we do to prevent cavities? What causes them in the first place?
The bacteria that live in our mouths tend to concentrate and form plaque in certain places. These are usually those that are difficult to clean such as in between teeth and below the gum line. When we eat foods that such as sugars and starches, which contain carbohydrates, the bacteria in our mouths break these substances down, which creates acids that bind to the plaque. Over time this eats away at the enamel of our teeth.
Cavities can usually be treated by your dentist with fillings. Your dentist uses various substances to fill (hence the name) or reinforce the holes or weakened areas in your tooth enamel. These fillings halt the process of decay by stopping any further bacteria and acids from further affecting the weakened part of the tooth. Fillings can be constructed of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Our dentists will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.
Prevention is easier than cure as with most conditions. Brushing at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is recommended. Cutting down on carbohydrates and keeping properly hydrated is also suggested. Having a dry mouth can speed up the breakdown of your teeth. Daily flossing is advised to clear the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those spaces between teeth which can be hard to reach with brushing. Most importantly, schedule regular check-ups and cleanings at our office. If you think you may be suffering from a cavity, would like to know more about how to prevent cavities or have any other dental need call 817.382.8869 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Paul Davis, Dr. Dakota Davis and Dr. Laura Drennan.