Tooth decay is an extremely common problem in our society. In fact, one survey found that over 90 percent of adults age 20 to 64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. The majority of children have also had a firsthand encounter with the unpleasantness of dental caries. What causes our teeth to form these pesky little holes, and is there anything you can do to stop the decay? Your dentist in Jacksonville is here to answer these important questions.
The Causes of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth interact with food, creating acids that attack your teeth and erode the enamel. Eventually, the enamel weakens to the point where it forms small holes. If the decay is allowed to continue, it can even eat away at the inner layers of the teeth.
There are a number of factors that allow bacteria to do its dirty, decay-causing work:
- A lack of proper oral hygiene
- Excessive consumption of sugars and starches
- Dry mouth
- Tooth enamel that is naturally weak due to genes
- Certain medical conditions
Preventing and Stopping Tooth Decay
It’s a sad fact that our teeth can’t heal themselves, which is why it is so important to make an effort to prevent cavities. Here are a few tips from your dentist in Jacksonville to help you keep decay at bay:
- Embrace the power of fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that is found in most toothpastes and municipal water supplies. It helps to rebuild tooth enamel.
- Stick to a good oral hygiene routine. Be sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- Be mindful of what you eat. Try to cut back on sugary and acidic foods. When you do indulge, rinse your mouth with water afterward.
- Keep your mouth moist. Lots of factors, including mouth-breathing, a poor diet, and medical conditions can cause dry mouth. Try to address these issues so you have plenty of saliva to help wash away harmful bacteria.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Biannual professional cleanings remove plaque and tarter from your teeth. Plus, the hygienist who cleans your mouth can offer you tips on how to improve your oral hygiene routine at home.
If, during one of your dental appointments, you discover that you do have a cavity, there is no need to despair. Small cavities are simple to fix with fillings. Larger cavities may require more extensive dental work. Regardless of the nature of the decay, however, your dentist will be happy to address the issue and get your oral health back on track.
Want to protect your teeth from the ravages of decay? Maintain good habits and visit your dentist often — your smile will thank you!
About Jacksonville Dental Specialists
Drs. Richard Aguila and Matthew Nawrocki are passionate, caring dentists who are experts at restoring teeth and repairing smiles — but they would prefer that their patients avoid dental problems in the first place. If it is time for your next cleaning and exam, please contact our office at 904-683-4781.