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Cavities are basically Dental Decay.
Dental decay is the most common problem that affects your teeth, but it can be prevented. Decay is caused by plaque, a sticky film found on teeth. Unfortunately, plaque cannot be removed just by rinsing, only correct tooth brushing, flossing and regular cleaning by a hygienist can remove plaque build-up. The bacteria found in plaque changes sugar from your food into acids which literally dissolve the tooth surface causing holes (cavities) to form. As the holes get bigger, they trap more bacteria and will continue to grow, even to the point where an abscess may form if it is not cleaned out and repaired.
Plaque also causes gum disease
Gum disease is caused by plaque which accumulates on the gum line of your teeth. It causes gums to become inflamed. If not taken care of, plaque may attack the fibers and bone which hold teeth in place. This causes bone loss, tooth instability, and may eventually even cause your tooth to fall out.
Dental decay can be prevented
Good dental hygiene is the best way to protect your teeth and prevent decay. The following is a list of things you can do to ensure a bright healthy smile for the rest of your life:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a good fluoride toothpaste.
- Reduce snacking on sugary foods and drinks between meals. Brush your teeth after sugary treats or drinks.
- Drink fluoridated tap water.
- Floss teeth daily with dental floss. Our hygienists are happy to instruct you on the proper use of floss and provide you with a sample after each hygiene visit to our office.
- Have regular dental check-ups, we recommend every 6 months for cleanings and once a year exams & x-rays for adults (twice a year for children).
Dental sealants protect young children’s molars from decay. The new molars have deep pits and soft surfaces so sealants are painted on to stop food from collecting in the chewing surfaces. Not all children need sealants, ask your dentist at your child’s next visit.
When you should see your dentist
Regular dental check-ups are very important. Also visit us if you have:
- A toothache – this might be caused by dental decay.
- Bleeding gums – this might be caused by gum disease.
Dental trauma – a tooth loosened or knocked out. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, place it in milk and call us immediately. It may be possible to put the tooth back.