Tooth Decay: Prevent Dental Cavities
Tooth decay is a degenerative oral health condition that results from the breakdown of tooth enamel. The destruction of tooth structure associated with decay can lead to the development of holes in the teeth, more commonly referred to as cavities. It is often caused as result of dietary choices and oral hygiene practices.
Many of the foods that we eat contain sugars and starches. When these foods are left on the teeth, plaque (the sticky substance that forms on teeth) combines with the bacteria that live in the mouth. This combination produces acids that damage the tooth enamel causing decay.
Maintaining a healthy diet with proper nutrition is essential in the promotion of good oral hygiene and avoidance of tooth decay. Foods and drinks that are high in sugars are more prone to form the acid that attacks the tooth enamel. Limiting foods and drinks that are high in sugar and carbonation can help to prevent decay and improve oral hygiene.
If decay is detected before it reaches the nerve of the tooth, a dentist can restore the tooth by removing the decay and replacing it with a dental filling. If left untreated, it may reach the nerve, meaning that a root canal procedure would more than likely be needed to save the tooth.
Even though tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, everyone is at risk. We all have bacteria in our mouth and are therefore susceptible to the acids that break down enamel and open the door to decay.
Many parents are not aware of the importance of baby teeth (primary teeth). This misconception comes from the fact that baby teeth are temporary. Many people therefore assume that the primary teeth are not as important as the permanent teeth. But decay affecting baby teeth can be a serious issue affecting future dental development.
Baby teeth serve important purposes such as helping children chew naturally and speak normally and clearly. Baby teeth are also important for providing a place for permanent teeth to erupt or grow into properly. If baby teeth are mistreated, it can have a detrimental effect on long-term oral health.
Tooth decay affects millions of people, but it can be easily prevented. The best methods of prevention include: