Your teeth have an outer layer called the enamel and the layer under the enamel called the dentin. The enamel is much harder than the dentin and so it gives the tooth its wearing resistance. However, the dentin is harder than bone.
Tooth decay progresses from the enamel and then continues through to the underlying dentin. Since the dentin is softer, decay goes through the dentin much faster. You will not notice any sensitivity until the decay goes through to the dentin layer as the dentin has tiny nerve endings. Our dentists recommend that any decay on the enamel is picked-up before it gets to the dentin. This is why it is so important that you see a dentist that takes the time in going through the check-up process thoroughly.
Causes of decay
The cause of tooth decay is a result of the consumption of carbohydrates present in fruits, candy, cakes, breads and cereals and the like. When chewing on these foods, some of it stay on your teeth. Then the bacteria in your mouth uses the fermentable carbohydrates from these foods to produces acids
All carbohydrates eventually break down into simple sugars but it is the fermentable carbohydrates that break down in the mouth. This then produce the sugars that the bacteria uses to create the decay causing acids. Other non-fermentable carbohydrates don’t break down until further down the digestive tract.
Who gets cavities?
As we all consume a certain level of carbohydrates, no one is immune from the problem of tooth decay. However, there are some factors that will increase the likelihood of certain groups of people to decay. For example, children tend to eat more sweets, and in older people the gums tend to pull away which exposes the roots to plague making it more susceptible to decay.
If you a senior and have had a lot of dental work, the filling may be weak and the bacterial could infiltrate the gaps which can cause decay. So, in older people, decay is likely to occur around the edge of fillings. And if left untreated, the decay will propagate further down the tooth to the dentin and cause serious damage to the tooth structure causing discomfort and leading to expensive treatment that could have been avoided.
If you eat sugary foods and/or high carb foods, then your chance of having cavities is high no matter how careful you may be when cleaning your teeth.
How to prevent getting cavities
It may be surprising to some people but you can actually keep your natural teeth for life if you follow a healthy diet, maintain a good oral hygiene routine, and seeing a dentist that not only focus on tooth restoration but also advises you on prevention.
It is also worth noting that acidic drinks such as energy drinks such as sports drinks, are acidic. This includes the sugar free varieties and fruit juices. The acidic nature of these drinks erodes the enamel which weakens it, making it more prone to decay. It is always better to drink water instead of these acidic drinks.
Avoid damage to the enamel by not eating sugary foods that help the bacteria in your mouth to produces acids. Always use a good quality toothpaste that contain fluoride. The fluoride helps the enamel to re-mineralise which assists in the repair of small cavities.
See our dentists regularly to pick-up any problems early. Problems picked up early have a much better treatment outcome. We will be able to clean your teeth where flossing and brushing can not reach. We can also use methods such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments that will help you further to fight against decay.
Choosing a dentist that spends the time to help you avoid expensive treatment in the future is important. Look at the philosophy of the dental practice. Is it just about fixing the immediate problem?, or does the dental practice also take a long-term view of your oral health?
Our practice philosophy is about helping you manage your oral health so you can avoid expensive treatment in the future. Of-course we can help you with the immediate problem but our responsibility does not stop there. We will also advise you on preventative care and tips on how to maintain your oral health in top shape.
The advice and recommendations we offer you is the same advice and recommendation we offer to our own families. That is our service guarantee!!!