Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay

Plaque is an insidious substance—a colorless, sticky film—that blankets your teeth and creates an environment in which bacteria erode tooth enamel, cause gum irritation, infection in inner structures such as pulp and the roots, and in extreme cases, tooth loss.

Some of the biggest culprits causing plaque are foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, including soda beverages, some juices, candy and many kinds of pasta, breads and cereals.

The bacteria living in plaque also can attack fillings and other restorations in your mouth, which can lead to more costly treatment down the road.

Bacteria in the cause of tooth decay.  It can also cause your gums to become irritated, inflamed, and bleed. Over time, plaque underneath your gums may cause periodontal disease, which can lead to bone loss and eventual tooth loss.

Once inside your teeth, the bacteria that cause decay will gradually destroy the inner layer, or dentin.  This process is irreversible and will continue to breakdown the tooth until the decay is removed.  While the process is usually slow, eventually the problem will reach the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth and lead to toothache.

Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease. This serious condition occurs when the structures that support your teeth—the gums and bone—break down from being infected.  Pain, hypersensitivity and bleeding may be some signs of periodontal disease.

Simple Preventative Measures

The two best defenses against tooth decay and gum disease are a healthy, well-balanced diet and good oral hygiene. This includes daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Most public drinking water contains fluoride, but if you are unsure of your water supply, then use a good quality mouth rinse containing fluoride.

A good way to help your oral health between brushing is chewing sugarless gum; this stimulates your body’s production of saliva, the body’s natural defense against decay causing bacteria.

Our office can provide advanced cavity protection with the use of special toothpastes, rinses, varnishes, or sealants.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding your oral health and these available treatments.

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