Our teeth are important to us. With them we eat which nourishes our bodies and helps us grow strong and stay healthy. They’re the bricks that build our smile which is a big part of making a good first impression we make whenever we meet new people. Humans have two sets of the teeth in their lifetimes: their baby teeth (primary teeth) and their adult teeth (secondary teeth). Once your adult teeth have grown in, usually by twelve or thirteen, it’s very important to care for them as you won’t be growing anymore naturally (except wisdom teeth but that’s another story). The most prevalent threat to the longevity of your teeth are cavities.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is another name for spots of decay on our teeth where tooth enamel has weakened and broken away, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This makes your tooth vulnerable to bacteria which can cause infections. This exposure can also cause sensitivity to temperature and touch and can even make chewing properly difficult, limiting your dietary options and making it hard to get proper nutrition. Cavities are the most frequently diagnosed ailment with which humans suffer after the common cold. But what causes this threat to our smiles? What can we do to fix them? And what can we do to prevent them in the first place? Dr. Carter Perkins of Perkins Dentistry in Dunnellon FL has the answers.
Our mouths are full of living bacteria- most of it relatively harmless on its’ own. These bacteria tend to congregate in places that are hard for us to clean such as in between teeth and right at the gum line and form plaque a clear but sticky substance. When we eat foods full of carbohydrates such as sugars (like in donuts and candy) or starches (like in potato chips), these bacteria break down these components. The processed carbohydrates create acids that bind to the plaque already on our teeth and eat away at their enamel.
When to See a Dentist
Cavities are most commonly treated by your dentist with fillings. In this process the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced with various substances. This halts the process of decay by denying bacteria and acids continued access to the weakened part of the tooth. Fillings can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Perkins will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.
With cavities as with most things, it’s easier to prevent the problem than to fix it once it develops. Brushing after meals or at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is recommended to clear away the plaque that may have formed. Dentists also recommend cutting down on intake carbohydrates and boosting your fluid intake. A dry mouth will accelerate the acidic breakdown of your teeth. Daily flossing can help remove the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those hard to reach spaces between your teeth. The most important preventative step is regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. For those patients in the Dunnellon FL area, call (352) 440-5827 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Perkins at Perkins Dentistry. If you think you may be suffering from a cavity or cavities or would just like a cleaning to help prevent them, contact us today!