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The Culprit Behind Cavities

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How important our teeth are cannot be overstated. They help us eat which nourishes our bodies so we can grow strong and stay healthy. We use our teeth to smile and that plays a big part of making a good first impression when we meet new people.

Humans grow two complete sets of teeth in their lifetimes: our primary or baby teeth and our secondary or adult teeth. Once all your adult teeth have grown in, usually by age twelve or thirteen, it’s crucial to take care of them as you won’t be getting anymore naturally (except for possibly wisdom teeth). The most prevalent threat to having your adult teeth for the rest of your life is cavities.

What Is A Cavity?

Cavities are the dental term for holes where tooth decay has weakened and broken open our enamel, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This exposes your tooth to bacteria which can cause infections as well as sensitivity to temperature and touch, and difficulty chewing properly from discomfort. These issues can limit your dietary options and you might not get all the nutrients you need. After the common cold, cavities are the most frequently diagnosed ailment from which humans suffer. But what causes this threat to a healthy smile? What can be done to fix them? And what can we do to prevent them so they don’t need to be fixed?  Dr. Caleb A. Robinson of New Philadelphia, OH has the answers.

How Do Cavities Form?

Bacteria, most of it relatively harmless, thrive in our mouths since it is warm and wet — their favorite environment. These bacteria feed off the plaque that forms from food particles and saliva in our mouths. Plaque that has accumulated in hard-to-brush places such as between teeth and below the gumline is where these bacteria like to feed and where cavities are most likely to form. 

When we eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as sugars (like in cake and candy) or starches (like in french fries), these bacteria break these food particles in our mouths using their digestive acids. These acids feed on the plaque but also eventually on our enamel itself.

How Are Cavities Treated?

Your dentist will usually treat cavities with a filling. In this process the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced or “filled” with various substances. This stop the process of decay by denying any further bacteria and their digestive acids access to the already weakened part of the tooth. Fillings can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Robinson will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.   

Preventing Cavities

It’s much easier to prevent an illness than cure it. This is true for cavities too. Brushing after meals or at least twice a day with a fluoride-infused toothpaste is recommended by Dr. Robinson to remove the plaque while also strengthening your enamel. 

Dentists also recommend cutting back on carbohydrates in your diet and drinking plenty of water to make sure you are properly hydrated. A dry mouth can speed along the acidic breakdown of your teeth. 

The most important step you can take to prevent cavities is to attend regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. For those patients in New Philadelphia, OH area, call (330) 269-5805 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Robinson. If you would like to schedule a cleaning or discuss cavities or any other dental issue, contact us today!