From the time you first learned to care for your teeth, you have been learning about the dangers of sugar, neglecting your teeth, and drinking too much soda. All of these things can compound in your to cause cavities, which is why you never eat a bunch of candy and then forget to brush your teeth, right?
It seems so elementary, and yet many people really don’t understand HOW those things work together to create cavities. That’s what we want to talk about today, because if you understand how decay forms, you are better able to prevent decay and save your teeth for the rest of your life!
After all, one of our primary goals is to help you keep your natural teeth for your entire life. That requires decay prevention throughout your entire life, but we can help you. Continue reading to see how we help the patients at our Plano, TX dentist office protect their teeth!
What Causes Decay?
Decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth. When you eat, food particles get caught in the nooks and crannies of your teeth. Bacteria feeds on those particles and produces acid, which cause weaken or damage your tooth enamel. Holes and cavities form and grow until we are able to go in and do the repairs necessary.
The Role of Genetics
While it is true that your oral hygiene habits and diet play a huge role in the health of your teeth, but there is another very large factor: your genetics. Research has found that genetics dictate about 60% of your risk for decay! From the strength of your saliva to your sweet tooth, you can’t outrun your DNA!
Why Prevent? Isn’t That What Fillings Are For?
We see patients who are unsure about the importance of prevention. After all, isn’t that what fillings are for? Fillings are there to restore teeth, but a filling is a sign that your tooth has been weakened. Over time, teeth that are filled with cavities are more likely to become damaged or develop infections. While a filling is there to restore cavities, your tooth will never be as strong as it was when it was whole.
Preventing cavities means you will only restore teeth when it’s absolutely necessary. Your teeth will be stronger and will be more likely to last for the rest of your life!
Prevention at Home
The first steps of prevention happens at home. The routines you follow each morning and evening will help you protect your teeth through the daily exposure they get to the foods and drinks you consume.
Brushing – You should be brushing for at least two minutes each morning and each evening. Brushing all surfaces of your teeth, gums, and tongue will remove about 60% of the bacteria in your mouth.
Flossing – Flossing removes bacteria from between your teeth to protect you from decay as well as gum disease infections.
Dietary Considerations – Watch what you eat for the benefit of your waistline as well as the benefit of your smile. Pay attention to the amount of acidic soft drinks, sticky pretzels and breads, and the sugary sweets that you consume.
Prevention in the Office
The steps you take to prevent decay at home is only half the battle. Routine dental appointments are key to preventing decay. When you come into the office, you can expect the following prevention procedures.
Routine Cleanings – A routine cleaning will remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth as well as below the gumline. A routine cleaning and exam is also an opportunity for us to find decay while it is still small.
Fluoride Treatment – We offer several forms for fluoride to help you strengthen your teeth in the best way for your smile. We offer fluoride foam, prescription fluoride treatment, and fluoride varnish.
Dental Sealants – Some patients need more than just fluoride to protect their teeth. Dental sealants provide a protective layer between your tooth and the harmful bacteria in your mouth. We can easily paint the sealant over your teeth at your next appointment!
Prevent Decay When You Make an Appointment!
Are you ready to prevent decay in the best way possible? Contact our office to set up an appointment for your next dental cleaning and exam. We can discuss your risk for decay and help you come up with a plan for prevention! Call today so that we can get started soon!