Many things in our lives change so slowly that we do not even notice them. One day you’re at work and everything on the screen looks out of focus, or suddenly you look down and realize your shoes are barely holding together. These slow processes often slip right by us until it suddenly becomes apparent on day. This can also happen with your teeth. Most dental issues take a long time to form, and you won’t really notice until they are quite far along. This can directly apply to cavities. Dr. Greg Friedman, your dentist in Scripps Ranch, gives you a little more information on how cavities work, as well as how you can prevent them.
How Does A Cavity Form?
You’ve probably known since you were a child that brushing your teeth helps prevent cavities. That’s all you really needed to know, and you’ve taken care of your own teeth ever since. What are you actually preventing though? What is a cavity? Whenever we eat, particles of food are left on our teeth. Most of the food contains some type of sugar, and naturally occurring bacteria feed on this sugar and form plaque. This plaque is what can cause tooth decay because it has an acidic quality. The normal pH level for your mouth is around 7, or neutral. If this plaque is allowed to stay on your teeth, it will eventually start to eat through the enamel. This is what causes the pits and holes typically associated with a cavity. The decay can eventually reach the nerve and cause you quite a bit of pain. Cavities don’t form overnight; they can take months or even years (this is why your dentist only sees you every 6 months). Cavity formation is not a linear process, as in you don’t simply get plaque on your teeth and it eats away at it until you brush. Your mouth has natural ways of stabilizing its environment, mostly through saliva production. Even though it is able to do this, it isn’t quick enough to stop the plaque from damaging your teeth. Once this has occurred enough times, eventually a cavity will form.
What Can I Do?
The best way to prevent cavities starts at home with regular brushing and flossing. This helps clean away the acidic plaque before it has a chance to damage your teeth. The key is to be consistent because plaque forms on your teeth every day. This home routine must also be paired with regular visits to the dentist. A professional cleaning from the team at Mod Squad Dental can reach areas on your teeth you simply can’t at home. It also gives Dr. Friedman a chance to examine your teeth for any signs of tooth decay. The earlier he is able to catch it, the easier treatment usually is.
Any More Questions?
If you want to know more about how cavities form or what you can do to prevent them, please give us a call today. We want to help keep your teeth healthy year around, so be sure to take care of yourself at home and come see us regularly.