You can’t underestimate how important our teeth are to feeling good. We use them to eat which nourishes our bodies and helps us grow strong and stay healthy. They also comprise our smiles which are a major factor in making a good first impression whenever we meet new people. People have two sets of teeth in their lives: their baby teeth and their adult teeth. Once you have your adult teeth, usually by twelve or thirteen, it’s very important to take care of them as you won’t be getting any more naturally (except wisdom teeth). The most common threat to the health and longevity of your teeth are cavities.
What Is A Cavity?
Cavities are another name for spots of tooth decay on our teeth where tooth enamel has weakened and broken open, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This opens up your tooth to bacteria which can cause infections as well as creating sensitivity to temperature and touch and can even cause difficulty chewing properly. This limits your dietary options and can cause you to not get all the nutrients you need. Cavities are the most frequently diagnosed ailment with which humans suffer after the common cold. But what causes this threat to our smiles? What can we do to fix them? And what can we do to prevent them so we don’t have to fix them? Dr. David J. Weinstock of Philadelphia, PA has the answers.
How Do Cavities Form?
Our mouths contain live bacteria, most of which is relatively harmless on its own. These bacteria tend to concentrate in places that are hard for us to clean such as in between teeth and right at the gum line, where they feed on dental plaque. This clear but sticky substance forms on our teeth when saliva combines with food particles. When we eat foods that contain carbohydrates such as sugars (like in donuts and candy) or starches (like in potato chips), the bacteria in our mouths break these components down. This creates acids that also begin eating the plaque already on our teeth and begin breaking down their enamel.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Cavities are usually treated by your dentist with fillings. In this process the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced with various substances. This halts the process of decay by denying any further access by bacteria and their digestive acids access to the weak part of the tooth. Fillings can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Weinstock will consult with you to decide which material would work best for your teeth.
With cavities, as with many things, it’s easier to complete preventative care than it is to repair it once it breaks. Brushing after meals or at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is recommended to remove the plaque that may have formed. Dentists also recommend cutting down on carbohydrates and keeping your body properly hydrated. A dry mouth can accelerate the acidic breakdown of your teeth. Daily flossing also helps prevent cavities by clearing away the plaque and preventing the formation of cavities in those hard to reach spaces between your teeth. Most importantly, keeping regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office, will help you avoid cavities before they can gain a foothold. For those patients in the Philadelphia, PA area, call (215) 857-8054 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Weinstock about your dental issues. Whether you think you may be suffering from cavities or would just like a preventative cleaning, contact us today!