Talking in Huntingdon County about getting a cavity from tooth decay

What is tooth Decay? Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, is the destruction of tooth enamel. It occurs when foods containing carbohydrates are frequently left on the teeth. Carbohydrates are sugars and starches that are in most foods including, milk, fruits, breads, candy and soda pop, to mention a few. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay or a cavity.

How can tooth decay be prevented? Prevention is simple and the key to long-term health. The plaque that is the home for the bacteria needs to be removed from the tooth surface. Brush, brush, brush, brush a minimum of three times daily. Floss between the teeth daily, doing this will remove bacteria from the areas the toothbrush cannot reach. Keep snacking limited, and brush after enjoying snacks. Nutritious and balanced meals are essential for controlling not only tooth decay, but also overall health. Visit your dentist regularly (twice a year) for professional dental cleanings and oral examinations. The examination will include detection of tooth decay, periodontal disease (gum disease), oral cancer screening, and evaluation of present restorations (fillings). Decay can occur around the margins or edges of fillings and crowns.

Who gets cavities? We are all at risk because of the bacteria in our mouths. Children and senior citizens are more susceptible to decay then others due to a number of factors. People who eat diets high in starch and sugar, especially sticky candy and soda pop, are at a much greater risk. Taking a number of different medications and/or having a dry mouth also increases the caries (cavity) rate. Root decay is decay on the root of the tooth. This happens after a person has had periodontal (gum) disease and the gums have receded, leaving part of the root exposed. Since there is no enamel covering your roots, these exposed areas decay more readily. Most people over the age of 60 have root exposure. Recurrent cavities are cavities around existing fillings. Decay can form here due to these areas not being as smooth as a natural tooth surface. Also over time the bond between the filling and the tooth may weaken and allow saliva and bacteria to leak between the filling and tooth. This type of leak will always cause a cavity over a period of time.

Having a cavity does not always equal pain. You can have a cavity and not know. This is why it is important to schedule biannual visits to your dentist. If your dentist would find a cavity, in most cases, a restorative filling or crown can be placed. The dentist will remove the decay and place a tooth colored filling in its place. If decay is left untreated, loss of the tooth is inevitable. Tooth decay is preventable, although only you and your daily habits can prevent it. Brush, Floss, Eat healthy, and visit your dentist.

Healthy Hints for Smiles for Life – By: Heather Metzler RDH

For more information or questions call the office or visit the website of Jeffery D. Hartman DMD,PC, located in Huntingdon, PA

Call Smiles For Life Total Health Dentistry 814-643-9414 located in Huntingdon, PA


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