General dentistry is a form of dental care where practitioners provide a variety of services. Patients who see a general dentist receive preventative services to help maintain good oral health and prevent disease or damage. In addition to preventive services, general dentistry also includes restorative services and cosmetic services.Dental health is essential to a patient's…
General Dentistry Tips: Why Preventing Tooth Decay is So Important
One of the prevalent conditions treated in a general dentistry office is tooth cavities. What many people do not know is that a cavity is mostly caused by tooth decay. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent tooth decay before it turns into a cavity. In this article, you will learn about the causes of tooth decay, the implications and what you can do to stop the process.
The mouth is full of bacteria. Different types of bacteria live on the tongue, teeth, gums and other areas of the mouth. While some bacteria are actually good, some can be harmful, especially those that play an active role in tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when certain types of bacteria combine with sugars in food to produce acids. With time, these acids can create holes in the tooth.
The implications of tooth decay
Tooth decay and cavities appear as yellow and dark holes on the teeth and reveal themselves when you smile. The decay is always apparent if it is close to the gum lines.
Tooth decay can also cause halitosis or bad breath. The buildup of bacteria and plaque in the mouth is responsible for the foul odor. That is why excellent oral hygiene is needed: to combat and reduce the bacteria count in the mouth.
Leaving tooth decay untreated can lead to other medical issues. Postponing treatment for later can cause the decay to worsen into an abscess that may lead to tooth loss.
The bacteria infection and abscess can be transported through the bloodstream and result in more serious, systematic infection. This could cause deadly health complications.
Tooth decay can also cause headaches, severe toothache and jaw pain.
How tooth decay can be prevented
The constant introduction of acidic substances to the mouth is the major cause of decay. This often occurs when you eat or drink too much of foods containing sugar and starch. The cycle of acid attacks causes the minerals on the enamel to deteriorate. A white spot is often noticeable where the minerals have been lost, and that marks the beginning of tooth decay.
At this stage, the decay can be stopped and reversed. Minerals provided by the saliva, fluoride from toothpaste and other sources can provide the enamel with the materials required to repair itself. However, if the tooth decay continues at this point, more minerals will be lost, and the enamel will weaken and deteriorate to create a cavity. Once cavity forms, a dentist has to fill the hole with dental fillings.
The best way to prevent tooth decay from forming is to brush your teeth regularly using a fluoride toothpaste. You should also watch your diet and shun excessive sugar and starch intake.
You should always remember this basic general dentistry tip: booking regular dental appointments. Going for biannual dental checkups allows the dentist to check your oral cavity for plaque and tartar and clean them off before they worsen into decay or cavity. By maintain excellent oral health routines, you will be able to prevent tooth decay before it worsens into a serious dental condition.
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