Depending on which friend or family member you ask, you may hear different stories about how cavities form. Candy, or any form of sugar, is a commonly-named culprit, as well as soft drinks and simply poor hygiene. The truth is that many of these stories aren’t false; they’re just part of a larger picture that many patients don’t realize can contribute to their teeth’s destruction. Rochester dentist, Dr. Calcagno, has helped many patients preserve their natural smiles by explaining the formation of cavities and educating patients on how to prevent an internal tooth infection from developing.
Poor Oral Hygiene
The sticky film that can coat your teeth sometimes, which you may have encountered once or twice when running your tongue across your teeth, is called dental plaque. When the bacteria in your mouth accumulate, they form dental plaque to protect them from saliva and your mouth’s other natural defenses. You can control bacterial plaque by carefully brushing and flossing every surface of every tooth at least twice a day. If you miss a spot, or decide to skip a tooth-brushing session altogether, then plaque can calcify, or harden, into tartar. The insoluble substance can’t be removed with toothpaste and water, and tartar must be removed with your dentist’s professional tools and expertise during your routine checkup and cleaning.
As bacteria remain, some strains (mainly Streptococcus mutans) consume sugar and other carbohydrates, and then convert them into acid. The acid breaks down your teeth’s protective layer of enamel, eventually allowing bacteria to slip past it and infect your tooth’s main structure, called dentin. As the infection settles in, it can eat away at your tooth, causing small holes, or cavities, to form and grow larger as tooth decay progresses.
Take Care What You Feed Your Mouth
Candy, cakes, cookies, soft drinks, fruit juices, and other acidic or sugar-laden treats are notorious for accelerating enamel erosion and tooth decay. Eaten in moderation and in conjunction with good dental hygiene, your favorite sweets don’t have to become a menace to your oral health. Certain foods, mainly those that contain minerals like calcium and phosphate, can help strengthen tooth enamel, which is comprised almost entirely of mineral crystals. Dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, as well as meats such as turkey, chicken, and beef, provide ample amounts of essential minerals. Ensuring an adequate supply of these minerals can help ensure that enamel remains strong enough to repel decay-causing bacteria and preserve the integrity of your healthy, natural teeth.
About Dr. Calcagno:
Dr. Gilly Calcagno is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Minnesota Dental Association, and is active in local dental implant study clubs. To schedule a consultation, call Calcagno Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry today at (507) 281-3659.