Tooth decay describes the destruction and deterioration of the tooth structure. Tooth decay may affect the enamel, which is the external coating of the tooth as well as the dentin layer of the tooth. A person’s teeth will start to decay if they allow foods containing carbohydrates to stay on their teeth for extended periods of time. These foods would include things like cereals, candy, cake, and other foods that have sugar and starches in them.

Over time, mouth bacteria will try to digest this food. This will turn the carbohydrates into acids. The acid will then mix with the saliva in a person’s mouth and create plaque. Plaque is a very sticky substance that adheres to a person’s teeth. Over time, the acid in the plaque will start to dissolve a person’s tooth enamel. This in turn leads to holes in the tooth, which are known as cavities.

Tooth decay is avoidable. A lot of the techniques for preventing tooth decay are things that people learned when they were a child. The following is a list of the top five ways to prevent tooth decay.

Brush teeth a minimum of two times every day. Teeth should be brushed with toothpaste that contains fluoride. It is preferable that a person brushes their teeth when they wake up in the morning, after eating meals, and prior to going to sleep at night.

Use dental floss multiple times throughout the day to clean between your teeth. Dental floss can reach parts of the mouth that a toothbrush cannot. Plaque will often build up in the spaces between a person’s teeth, leading to decay and cavities.

Use a fluoride mouthwash multiple times a day. There are many mouthwashes on the market that have antiseptic ingredients that are designed to attack and kill the bacteria in your mouth that can cause plaque.

Eat a nutritious diet. Plaque buildup comes from the consumption of carbohydrates. These include things like candy, chips, doughnuts, cake, and other foods that are widely considered to be unhealthy if they are consumed in large quantities. A balanced diet that can fight tooth decay should include an ample supply of vegetables, fruit, and lean meats.

Schedule and keep regular dental visits. Even with the most regimented dental routine, there will be spaces on your teeth that you will not be able to reach with your toothbrush, dental floss, or mouthwash. Scheduling regular dental visits allow the dentist to identify areas where plaque has built up and clean this plaque off before tooth decay sets in.

Tooth decay is a serious problem for many. It results in painful cavities, and if left unchecked, it can lead to a tooth extraction. Researchers are constantly working on new ways to prevent tooth decay and to help people keep their teeth healthier and stronger for a longer period of time.

Contact the office of Dr. Brodie Bowman, DMD today to schedule an appointment.