Our mouths are full of hundreds of different types of bacteria. Some are helpful, while others use the sugars and starches in food to make acids that cause tooth decay. Cavities are caused by this process.
While a cavity won’t go away on its own, dentists can repair it with a filling. You can also prevent and even reverse tooth decay to keep cavities from forming.
Here are some easy ways to keep your teeth healthy.
Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent tooth decay and help get rid of white spots on teeth. These white spots may appear where minerals have been lost, and they are signs of early decay.
- Fluoride reduces bacteria’s ability to make acid
- Most Americans get fluoridated water from their community water supply
- Bottled water does not contain fluoride, so you should talk to your dentist about fluoride gel, varnish, tablets, or mouth rinse if you don’t drink tap water
Each time you eat or drink something that contains sugar or starches, bacteria in your mouth will use it to produce acids which eat away at your teeth’s enamel. If you eat frequent snacks throughout the day, especially sugary foods and drinks, the repeated acid attacks will cause your teeth to lose minerals and cavities can form.
This is why you should pay attention to what, as well as how often, you and your children eat. It is best to:
- Limit snacks to give teeth a chance to repair themselves
- Save candy, cookies, and soda for special occasions
- Limit fruit juice for kids as too much can lead to obesity as well as tooth decay, and whole fruits are healthier
- Don’t eat or drink anything after you brush your teeth before bed. Saliva flow decreases during your sleep, making your teeth more vulnerable to harmful bacteria
Ask Your Dentist about Sealants
Dental sealants are painted onto the surfaces of molars, also called back teeth. They’re usually made of thin plastic. Molars have small pits and grooves that make them rough and uneven. Food and bacteria can get stuck in the pits and grooves of molars easily and toothbrushes can’t always clean them well. Sealants cover molars and form a barrier that protects teeth from cavities.
- A cavity is most likely to develop in the molars, so it’s often best to get them sealed.
- The first permanent molars come in between the ages of 5 and 7.
- The second permanent molars come in when a child is between ages 11 and 14.
- The third permanent molars, often called wisdom teeth, come in between the ages of 17 and 25. However, many people have them removed because they don’t come in correctly.
Get Regular Checkups
You should visit a dentist regularly for tooth cleanings and examinations. During your visit, your dentist or hygienist will remove plaque, the film of harmful bacteria on teeth, and check for any cavities hidden between teeth. If you have a cavity, you’ll need to come back to get a filling to prevent further decay within the tooth.
Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry
At Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry, we offer a wide variety of services to patients in South Florida. Our skilled dentists can perform all the procedures you need for a beautiful smile and optimal oral health. Please contact us for a consultation.