Every morning and every night you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. You also floss between your teeth daily. And every six months you schedule a cleaning and exam with your family dentist in Washington. So if you’re doing everything your dentist and the American Dental Association recommends, why do you have a cavity now? Let’s take a look at what occurs in the mouth to create a cavity, how they’re repaired and what you can do to avoid one.
Bacteria are Busy in Your Mouth
Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria and they are active 24/7. Some of those microscopic bacteria are there to do a job—they aid in digestion. However, there are many other bacteria that are harmful. These bacteria are in a category that survives on the sugar and carbohydrates that many foods leave behind on your teeth. As the bacteria digest, they also excrete acids that can begin to cause a cavity.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is a small hole in the outer enamel surface of a tooth that results when acids that bacteria produce begin to eat away at the enamel. Cavities, also called dental caries, most often develop in the pits and grooves of molar teeth where food particles and the bacteria they attract are more likely to become trapped. However, cavities can also form between teeth and on the root surfaces of your teeth.
What is Done to Repair Cavities in Washington?
If your dentist finds that you have a cavity, then more often than not a tooth-colored filling will be recommended. (In case of a very large cavity, an inlay, onlay or dental crown may be necessary.) These fillings are made of composite resin materials that can be shaded to perfectly match the natural color of your tooth. In addition, these types of fillings are stronger than metal fillings, and they are even better for the affected tooth. A metal filling is wedged into the drilled out portion of a decaying tooth. But a composite resin filling bonds with your tooth, which strengthens the remaining structure.
What Can You Do to Stop Cavities?
In addition to adhering to a strict oral hygiene practice at home and regular dental checkups with your “dentist near me,” there are other steps you can take to prevent cavities.
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid sweet treats and snacks. When you’re hungry in between meals, have nuts, seeds, raw vegetables or fruit.
- Be sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and change it out every three or four months. A new toothbrush is better at removing food particles that can get trapped in your teeth.
- Avoid fruit juices and soda, which are both high in sugar and can contribute to tooth decay.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. James Mace is a family dentist in Washington, MO. He and his team are dedicated to ensuring the health, beauty and longevity of your smile. If you’d like to learn more about tooth-colored fillings or another service, make an appointment to see the dentist near me.