Tooth decay, known as dental cavities, is an oral disease affecting many people. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form a sticky substance called plaque. This plaque combines with the sugary and starchy foods you eat and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving or removing the minerals from the enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay is not life threatening and is highly preventable.
Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake contribute to tooth decay. Even some fruits, vegetables and juices, may help to create cavities.
The acids formed by plaque can be neutralized by the saliva in your mouth. Your saliva acts as a buffer and re-mineralizing agent to help your teeth. Dentists will often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow. But, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Fluoride, a natural substance that also helps to re-mineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acids and helps to correct damage produced by the plaque bacteria. Fluoride is often added to toothpaste and water sources to help fight cavities. Your Rochester MN dentist may recommend using special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses or fluoride supplements. In addition, tooth sealants may be recommended.
We all carry bacteria in our mouths, which makes everyone at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in cities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. Individuals with a dry mouth, or xerostomia, are at high risk for tooth decay. Xerostomia can be caused by multiple medications, poor health, and many other reasons. In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at the highest risk for dental cavities. If you think you may have a cavity, contact your dentist in Rochester MN right away.
- Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, sugary and starchy foods put your teeth at risk.
- The acid in your diet can weaken your enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to decay. Many bottled juices, sodas, and fitness drinks have a high level of acid. Avoid sipping all day on these beverages.
- Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities often begin in hard-to-clean areas between the teeth and in the fissures and pits on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside, on top of, and in between your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush every few months. Don't wait for your dentist's visit to receive a new one. Buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride.
- See your dentist at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect, a thorough dental examination is very important. If left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent loss of the tooth structure, root canal therapy, and even loss of the tooth.
Tooth-colored fillings are white and virtually undetectable, unlike silver/amalgam fillings. Tooth-colored fillings come in a variety of shades and are matched to your individual tooth color.
- Closely match the color of natural teeth
- Bonded into place and require less removal of healthy tooth structure than silver fillings
- Can last a lifetime
- Can eat on them immediately
- Look terrific!