Tooth decay is caused long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth’s inner dentin material.
These destructive forces include foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, such as soda, candy, ice cream, and even sometimes milk. If you don’t brush or floss consistently to remove these agents from your mouth, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless, sticky substance called plaque.
The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures.
If cavities aren’t treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.
The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and rinsing. Your body’s own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing.
Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods
- A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line
- Teeth that change color
If you think you are suffering from a cavity, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kimmerling or Dr. Aguilera today.