Written by: on May 16, 2016 @ 9:39 am

how you can prevent cavitiesIf you’ve ever had a cavity, there’s a good chance that a toothache alerted you to its existence. Tooth decay, the cause of the small holes in your teeth called cavities, directly affects your tooth’s structure, and is a leading cause of tooth discomfort.

However, as a progressive disease, tooth decay begins long before the discomfort of a toothache, and many people don’t realize that with a little diligence, they can prevent cavities from forming. The first step is to understand exactly what cavities are, and how to spot and treat them before they become a problem.

The Causes of Cavities

Dental plaque—the sticky, sometimes fuzzy-feeling stuff that coats your teeth from time to time—is a product of oral bacteria. Over 600 different types of the microorganisms inhabit a healthy human mouth. When discussing tooth decay, we focus on one of these germs in particular, called Streptococcus mutans. As a major contributor to plaque formation, S. mutans consumes the sugars and starches from your meals, then converts them into lactic acid.

The acid works to weaken the mineralized enamel that protects your teeth, and depletes the minerals that enamel needs to regain strength. In time, your enamel can become compromised, and bacteria can slip past it to infect the main part of your tooth, called dentin. As tooth decay develops and advances, the infection creates small holes (called cavities) that grow larger and expose the sensitive nerves at your tooth’s center, leading to sometimes-severe tooth discomfort.

Preventing Cavities from Affecting Your Teeth

Brushing and flossing your teeth every day is critical to controlling plaque and acid-producing bacteria. But the key to detecting issues early enough to avoid extensive damage is regular attendance at your six-month dental checkups and cleanings.

By thoroughly cleaning and closely examining your oral health, your dentist can spot early signs of trouble that you may not be able to detect on your own. When exceptionally weakened enamel, or enamel erosion, is detected before the enamel is damaged, the erosion can usually be reversed with improved dental hygiene and enamel-strengthening treatment, such as fluoride application.

ABOUT YOUR FARMINGTON HILLS, MI, DENTISTS:

To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with one of the experts at Comfort Dental Group, then contact us today by calling our office at (248) 474-6434. We welcome patients living in and around Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi, Northville, Westland, and Dearborn Heights, MI.

Catogories: Cavities, Preventive Dentistry

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