Dental cavities are widespread, impacting people of all ages from across the nation. Without proper care and attention, your teeth can develop tooth decay, leading to discomfort and over time, a risk of serious complications. Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent cavities and protect your smile from discomfort or in serious cases, tooth loss.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Our teeth are coated in a protective outer layer of enamel, which helps prevent harmful bacteria from coming into contact with the inner layers of dentin and pulp. However, when the enamel is eroded or damaged, the bacteria can reach the dentin and cause a cavity. The compromised enamel may be the result of poor oral hygiene, foods and drinks high in sugar and other starches, or damage to the tooth, such as a chip or fracture.
The Dangers of Ignoring Cavities
Unless treated in a timely manner, the decay will continue to spread until the bacteria can come into contact with the pulp, the tooth’s living nerve center. At this stage, an infection can develop, causing serious discomfort. Eventually, the infection may cause the tooth to die and require immediate extraction to avoid the infection’s spread.
Preventing Tooth Decay
First, you should alter what you eat and drink. Sugar and other starches are broken down by bacteria, a process that weakens enamel by increasing oral acidity and coating the teeth in a sticky biofilm known as plaque. We recommend:
- Avoiding sports drinks, energy drinks, and sodas
- Drinking more water
- Cutting back on sugary snacks, candy, and chips
- Eating more fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products
You also need to take better care of your smile, which helps remove plaque buildup and reduce the number of harmful bacteria. We suggest:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing once a day
- Having your teeth cleaned twice a year