Some Keys to Preventing Tooth Decay
- Posted on: Jul 15 2015
Dental hygiene is so easy and it goes so far in preventing lots of ugly oral issues later on. So why is it that most people do a cursory job with their dental hygiene?
Taking care of your teeth is easy, but it does demand a certain amount of technique combined with diligence, consistency, and an eye toward prevention. Of course, the first line of defense is proper brushing and flossing. Beyond those daily duties, here are some other keys to prevention.
Preventing tooth decay
Most foods we eat have sugars in them, whether they taste sweet or not. Our mouth has legions of bacteria living in it. Together, they can spell decay, that five-letter swear word in the dental world. When the bacteria and sugars interact, acids are produced. Unfortunately, those acids are the culprits that break down the mineral content in the enamel of our teeth, allowing bacteria into the tooth. Once in, bacteria start the process of decay that results in a cavity, and if not treated, far more heinous dental issues. Left untreated, decay progresses, endangering the tooth and the surrounding gums. That why it’s critical that a dentist remove any decay as soon as it shows itself in twice-yearly checkups. Minimal decay is removed and the affected area, the cavity, is filled, restoring the health of the tooth. But when the decay is extensive, nerve damage may occur. In this case, a root canal is performed to remove all the decayed matter, including the root in the tooth. It is then topped with a dental crown (a large filling that caps a tooth to make it stronger). Even more severe decay will result in extraction of the tooth. But tooth decay is easily preventable with brushing, flossing, use of fluoride toothpaste, refraining from an overly sugar-filled diet, and regular checkups with Dr. Wylie.
Our molars, the bad boys of chewing, have depressions and grooves in them where food and bacteria can hide out. Kind of like canyons and fissures in your teeth. Genetics are usually behind these deeply pitted teeth, but it can be virtually impossible to get all the food particles out of teeth like that. The resulting food debris and bacteria end up causing decay — a recent study found that 88 percent of cavities suffered by U.S. children formed in this fashion. Sealants can give you a way to fight back. Sealants are made of resin and are used to fill the fissures and pits in your molars, keeping out bacteria and food particles. After curing, sealants are almost as hard as your teeth, so chewing is unaffected. And they can last for decades.
The power of fluoride has never really been in question. That’s why you find fluoride in virtually every toothpaste brand. Why? Because fluoride has been scientifically proven to significantly reduce tooth decay. In fact, communities with fluoride added to the water supply have a 50% decrease in tooth decay in children. In addition to fluoridated water and toothpaste, there are also fluoride supplements and fluoride gels or varnishes that the dentist can apply.
Have other questions about how to take care of your teeth? Call Wylie Dental Care at 304-845-2480 and let’s talk about them at your next cleaning and exam.
Posted in: General Dentistry