Cavities and tooth decay take place because plaque and bacteria have been allowed to accumulate on your teeth. Every time you drink or eat something, tiny particles of both food and drink stay attached to your teeth long after you have finished. These particles particularly if they are sugary may attract bacteria. These bacteria, over time, turn into plaque that contains acid. Plaque has a habit of eating away at your teeth’s enamel and will eventually cause cavities, which if left untreated may lead to the complete destruction of a tooth or teeth necessitating the need for extraction.
Fortunately once one tooth has been lost to tooth decay, the victim is likely to be more vigilant about taking care of his or her teeth. This helps to stop the spread of more bacteria, cavity development and ultimately tooth loss. If no action is taken in the early stages the decay could spread making further tooth loss more likely.
Ways to stop the spread of tooth decay
There are sometimes situations that occur such as when a minute hole in a dental restoration has taken place and bacteria finds its way underneath causing further tooth decay that is difficult to prevent until it’s too late. However, even preventing this is possible if you go to your dentist regularly as he or she will detect the problem and repair the damaged filling in time.
Apart from regular check-ups at your dentist you can help prevent an outbreak of tooth decay by modifying your diet. For example, consuming soft sweet foods are particularly damaging as they don’t encourage the development of saliva in your mouth. You need to change your diet to one that is richer in fibre as this helps to stimulate the production of saliva which is a natural defence against bacteria forming on your teeth.
This means consuming more vegetables, like carrots, cabbage and spinach. Even fruit like apples and pears need chewing and crunching so saliva is produced which helps to rinse out your mouth of damaging bacteria. Whole-grain products such as bread and pasta are decay preventers, too.
Prevent the spread of tooth decay through brushing and flossing
Often, people think a quick brush to freshen the breath is enough to prevent tooth decay. Sadly this isn’t the case. You should spend at least 2 minutes twice a day brushing and flossing your teeth. Toothpaste should be used as it contains many ingredients that help to strengthen your teeth’s enamel, like fluoride but it needs to remain on your teeth for at least 2 minutes to have any real effect.
Flossing is as important as brushing as it helps to remove particles from between your teeth. You should both brush and loss your teeth before going to bed as this will help to keep the bacteria off your teeth while you sleep.
If you think you have a cavity developing you shouldn’t leave it untreated but arrange an appointment at your dentist who will find a solution for you.