Cavities — Enemies of your Teeth!
What is plaque and tartar and why is it important to keep up a daily oral care routine? Excess plaque and tartar are breeding grounds for bacteria waiting to capitalize on any lapse in brushing and flossing. Just twenty minutes or so after eating, they are going to work feeding on leftovers and rapidly reproducing. Left to thrive, the result is often the birth of a cavity.
It’s unfortunate to say, but cavities are so common in many children that experiencing toothache is considered a normal part of growing up, but it shouldn’t be. Why? First, let’s examine what cavities are and how they can be prevented.
What Are Cavities?
Cavities or tooth decay develops when the tooth’s enamel is eroded or softened by acid-producing bacteria. This decay forms pits or caries (Latin for “rottenness”) in the affected tooth. Untreated tooth decay eats away at the entire tooth and spreads to other teeth, which in turn can lead to abscesses, pain and bleeding as well as tooth loss and extra dental bills.
Children are especially prone to cavities since food particles may be missed during their often inefficient brushing and flossing. Bacteria appreciate candy, soda and other carb-rich and sugary foods just like kids do. Cavities aren’t just for kids though, since adults get them too. Adult cavities are often in-between teeth, where trapped food particles remain stuck despite brushing. Flossing can remove this material, but many adults skip this essential step in their oral hygiene routine.
How To Prevent Cavities
The good news for kids and adults is that cavities are entirely preventable by following these basic steps:
- Your Placerville dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush daily. Soft bristles are also good for sensitive teeth and are still effective at removing plaque and tartar.
- Brush for at least two minutes. Another reason kids and some adults are prone to cavities is because of insufficient brushing. Supervise kids to make sure they do a complete job. There are even apps and timers with songs to make brushing for two minutes more enjoyable.
- Use fluoride toothpastes and rinses for extra cavity prevention and protection.
- Floss before you brush to remove food particles and plaque. At a minimum, floss afterwards at least once a day.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and limit sugar intake.
- Visit the Placerville Dental Group at least twice a year for cleanings and exams.
Next time you’re tempted to snag one of the glazed doughnuts your co-worker brought to share, think of that sugary treat as cavity food! Your waistline will thank you too! The Placerville Dental Group understands most people will have a cavity at some point in their lives and we are ready to provide excellent care. Whether you are due for your next exam or may have some cavities to be treated, contact your Placerville dentists to keep smiling. We’re at 530-295-8000, 699 Main Street, Suite B in Placerville and you can write us via this website.