Fighting Tooth Decay

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tooth-decay
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Fight tooth decay with our tips to take preventive action.

Tooth decay is what occurs when there is more mineral loss from a tooth than there is replacement, due to daily acid attacks related ­­­to food consumption.  Bacteria in your mouth react with the food you eat to produce acids.  These acids cause a breakdown or demineralization of areas underneath the tooth surface. Your body counters this by rinsing away the food and acid with saliva. The saliva buffers and neutralizes the acid attacks and also rebuilds the areas of the tooth which demineralized or attacked by acids. When the destructive action of the acid outweighs the constructive action of your saliva, tooth decay occurs.

The formation of dental caries, or "cavities", involves three major factors:

Food or beverages consumed (your diet)

Bacteria in plaque

Your current state of oral health

Food and beverages

Food and beverages consumed for prolonged periods of time between meals promote decay of teeth. Sticky, sweet foods should be avoided as mid- meal snacks as they cause too much acid for the saliva to counteract. Eating the same foods during meals is actually beneficial to the teeth. “Baby bottle tooth decay” is caused when children fall asleep with a baby bottle or are given a baby bottle to carry around with them which they constantly sip on. This is a major cause of tooth decay in humans.

Bacteria in plaque

Streptococci mutans and lactobacillus are two main bacteria that cause tooth decay. We all have a certain amount of these bacteria in our mouth, but it is when they are present in higher levels that they can cause severe damage to your teeth. These bacteria should be kept under control by brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.

Your current state of oral health

This refers to the way the teeth are shaped, formed and positioned, to your saliva, dental treatment and oral health habits. Sometimes, even saliva can cause tooth decay. Certain conditions or medications change the amount and type of saliva in your mouth, allowing the tooth decay process to progress all the way to cavities.

Prevention

Sealants- Deep groves and pits in some teeth are nothing but magnets for cavities. Painting a shaded plastic material called a pit and fissure sealant on these areas will act as a barrier and prevent the bacteria and acids from coming in contact with your tooth.

Fluoride supplements- Fluorides can immensely reduce the rate at which tooth decay occurs. By adding fluoride to your water and including fluoride into your daily oral routine can tremendously reduce your chances of cavities and tooth decay.

Fluoride toothpaste- This has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of countering tooth decay. With advancements in science and technology, antibacterial components like tin in stannous fluoride have made dental care much more effective. Using fluoridated toothpaste is one of the best ways to prevent mineral loss from teeth and aid the replacement process.

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