There is no overstating how important our teeth are to us. We use them to eat which fuels our bodies and helps us grow strong and stay healthy. We also use them to smile which is an essential part of making a good first impression whenever we meet new people.
Human beings have two separate sets of the teeth in their lives: their baby (or primary) teeth and their adult (or secondary) teeth. Once your adult teeth have grown in, usually by twelve or thirteen years of age, it’s very important to take care of them as there won’t be any natural replacements after that. The most prevalent threat to your healthy smile are cavities.
What Is A Cavity?
Cavities are the name given to places on our tooth enamel where tooth decay has weakened it and broken it open, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This makes your tooth more vulnerable to bacteria which can cause infections as well as causing sensitivity to temperature and touch and even make chewing difficult. This discomfort can limit your food choices and can cause you to not get all the nutrients you need.
Cavities are the most commonly diagnosed ailment that humans suffer from after the common cold. But what causes this threat to a healthy smile, what can we do to prevent them and how do we fix them? Dr. Michael H. Mulkey of Lost Mountain Dental at Due West in Marietta, GA has the answers.
How Do Cavities Form?
There is naturally-occurring bacteria living in our mouths, most of which is relatively harmless on its own. These bacteria feed on plaque- a clear sticky substance that forms from leftover food particles. Brushing our teeth and rinsing out our mouths tends to remove most of this and the bacteria. However, this plaque can begin to accumulate in places that are hard for us to clean such as in between teeth and right at the gum line. The acids that are created by bacteria eating this plaque also eat away at our enamel, forming cavities.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Dentists most often treat cavities with fillings. In this process the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced — or filled– with various substances. This stops the tooth decay by depriving it of any further access to the weak part of the tooth. Fillings can usually made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Mulkey will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.
It’s much simpler to care for your teeth than to repair them once there are problems. Brushing after meals or at least twice daily with a fluoride-infused toothpaste is recommended by the American Dental Association to remove the plaque that may have formed. Dentists also recommend cutting down on carbohydrates and maintaining proper hydration. A dry mouth can hasten the acidic breakdown of your teeth. Flossing at least once daily helps clear away the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those hard to reach spaces between your teeth.
The most important part of prevention is attending regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. For those patients in the Marietta, GA area, call (678) 212-1280 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Mulkey at Lost Mountain Dental. If you think you may be suffering from cavities or would just like a dental cleaning to prevent them, contact us today!