Despite the progress in oral health education, fluoridation of the water supply, and great advances in dental technologies, oral cavities are still a problem in many areas of the country, as well as among certain age groups.
In fact, tooth decay is second only to the common cold as the most prevalent disease around the world. And yes, it is a disease, leading to oral infections and abscesses, cavities, and possible tooth loss. Among young people and the elderly, as well as those living in poverty or with poor diets, the problem of tooth decay has improved little over the past few decades.
The Cause of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is caused by acid that is produced by certain types of bacteria that exist naturally in your mouth. These bacteria feed off the sugar in the 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 – or gum disease.
Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities
It takes just 20 minutes or so after eating for plaque to begin forming on your teeth. Brushing your teeth and flossing immediately is your best tactic for preventing tooth decay. Of course, regular visits to your dentist will also be a great help in prevention.
Preventing tooth decay and cavities is simple really, but 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
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.
The doctors and staff 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.