Cavities and Tooth Decay 101
Understanding Common Dental Conditions
Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries. Cavities are caused by long-term destruction on the teeth, such as enamel and the tooth’s inner dentin material. Oral destructive forces include recurring exposure to foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. Ice cream, candy, soda, as well as milk are common culprits.
If left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials can break down quickly and will allow bacteria to do harm in the form of a destructive, sticky substance called plaque.
The plaque works with leftover food particles to form harmful acids that destroy enamel as well as other tooth structures. When cavities aren’t treated early enough, they can lead to more serious oral problems which will require more serious treatments, such as root canal therapy.
Your saliva is an excellent cavity fighter. Saliva contains chemicals that rid your mouth of many harmful materials. Chewing sugarless gum can increase saliva production between brushing. Special varnishes and sealants can be applied to stop cavities from forming. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods
- A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line
- Teeth that change color
The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, however, other preventative treatments include:
- Brushing and flossing twice, daily with flouride toothpaste
- Correctly flossing and rinsing
- Scheduling routine dental check-ups twice a year
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and certain juices. These drinks combine with the baby's saliva to form pools inside the mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to early decay of your baby’s primary teeth. This decay can hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth. One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.
To learn more about cavities, tooth decay, and how it can harm your oral health, please call us at (719) 470-2522 today.