“What the heck is Dental Caries?” you ask. “Cavities – we’re talking about cavities and tooth decay,” we answer. The phrase “Dental Caries” is merely the medical term for tooth decay, the oral infection that leads inevitably to cavities.
Second only to the common cold, tooth decay is the most prevalent disease across the globe. And yes, it is a disease, leading to oral infections and abscesses, and possible tooth loss. Young people and the elderly, as well as those living in poverty and those with poor diets, are particularly susceptible to Dental Caries.
What is the cause of tooth decay?
Dental Caries, or tooth decay, is caused by acid that is produced by certain types of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed off of the sugary foods we eat every day and can form a film that sticks to your teeth called plaque. In addition to tooth decay, plaque that is not removed from your teeth can eventually become tartar, and contribute to the development of gingivitis and periodontitis.
How to prevent tooth decay and cavities
Since plaque begins to build up on your teeth within 20 minutes of eating, prevention, in the form of brushing and flossing, is your best tactic for preventing tooth decay. You should also visit your dentist for a thorough cleaning every six months.
Preventing tooth decay requires diligence on your part:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Eat foods that are low in sugar
- Have your teeth cleaned twice a year
- Visit your dentist right away if you experience pain or sensitivity to extreme temperatures in your teeth or gums
The need for prevention can, literally, not be over-emphasized when talking about tooth decay. Simply waiting until you find a cavity, then having it filled, makes little sense when brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to your dentist, can so easily prevent this disease.
Especially for your children, for whom a visit to the dentist for fillings can be painful and traumatic, teaching proper dental hygiene to prevent tooth decay should be a priority for all parents. Careful examination and clear diagnosis must be established before treatment, and future prevention must be addressed when tooth decay is found.
If you fear you have an oral infection or cavities, a visit to your dentist is critical to determine if there is serious damage to your teeth. The doctors at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.