When you are at the dentist, there is nothing worse than hearing you have a cavity, or worse, that you need a root canal or have to have a tooth pulled. Generally, when this happens, you have nobody but yourself to blame. Luckily, there are some tasks you can do on a regular basis to prevent this from happening and if you are lucky and the tooth decay is in its early stages, you may even be able to reverse it.
It All Starts in Your Mouth
Did you know your mouth is just loaded with bacteria? Did you also know that bacteria are capable of hiding in even the smallest crevice of your mouth? While there are some healthy bacteria in your mouth, there are also bacteria that want nothing more than to be ignored so they can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. These bacteria feast on sugary foods and acids to cause tooth decay, something you definitely want to avoid.
Think of your mouth as a battleground between bacteria/sugars and saliva/fluoride. If you eat a piece of bread, have a glass of milk, or eat some candy, the bacteria team gains an edge. On the other team, you have your saliva and fluoride that are working on your behalf to keep your mouth clean and your teeth safe. By rinsing your mouth with water after eating if you are unable to brush after a meal, you are helping the good guys defeat the bacteria team. Proper flossing and using a fluoride toothpaste will also help the good guys win this battle.
Why Do Cavities Develop?
In essence, when a good oral hygiene routine is not followed, the repeated attacks that are lost to the bacteria team begin to produce acids that start to attack the enamel on your teeth. Eventually, the enamel wears away and your teeth lose minerals. In the early stages, this will sometimes show up as a white spot on the tooth. At this stage, you still have hope of reversing the decay. If you fail to act, the enamel will become weaker and weaker until it is finally destroyed, which is when you have a cavity.
While there are always exceptions, a proper and regular oral hygiene routine will keep your mouth free of cavities. You should be brushing and flossing regularly as well as using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. If you suffer from dry mouth, use sugar-free gum and lozenges to keep your mouth moist with saliva throughout the day. You can also sip on water to ensure your mouth stays wet and produces saliva to battle against the bad bacteria forming in your mouth.
Of course, you should also be visiting your dentist every six months and if you see a problem developing between visits, make an appointment so the dentist can see if there is a real problem and address it. If you are trying to find a dentist in Salem MA, Hallmark Dental is accepting new patients. For more information about our dental services or to request an appointment, please contact us today!