Our teeth are key to our health and wellbeing. We eat with them which nourishes our bodies and helps us grow strong and stay healthy. They’re essential to our smile which is a big part of making a good first impression we make whenever we meet new people. Humans have two sets of the teeth in their lifetimes: their baby or primary teeth and their adult teeth or secondary teeth. Once you have your adult teeth, usually by twelve or thirteen, it’s crucial to care for them as you won’t be getting anymore naturally (except for possibly wisdom teeth- but that’s another story). The most prevalent threat to a long, healthy life for your teeth is cavities.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity is another name for spots of decay on your teeth where tooth enamel has weakened and broken away forming holes (hence the name cavity), and revealing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. This exposes your tooth to bacteria which can bring on infections. This exposure can also cause sensitivity to temperature and touch and even hinder chewing properly; limiting dietary options and making it hard to get proper nutrition. Cavities are the ailment humans are most frequently diagnosed with, second only to the common cold. But what causes cavities in the first place? What can be done to fix them? And what can we do to keep them from needing to be fixed? Dr. Byron Desbordes of Baltimore MD has the answers.
Our mouths are alive with bacteria- most of it relatively harmless on its’ own. These bacteria usually congregate in places in our mouths that are hard for us to clean such as in between teeth and right at the gum line and there, create plaque-a clear but sticky substance. When we eat carbohydrate-rich foods such as sugars (like in donuts and candy) or starches (like in potato chips), these bacteria break down these components. One of these components is an acid that binds to the plaque already on our teeth and eats away at their enamel.
How to Treat Cavities
Cavities are most often treated by your dentist with fillings. In this form of treatment the holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced (or filled, hence the name) with various substances. This halts the process of decay by denying bacteria and acids continued access to the compromised part of the tooth. Fillings can be constructed of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Desbordes will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.
With cavities as with most things, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure- and it’s certainly less expensive and invasive. Brushing after meals or at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste to remove the plaque that may have formed is recommended by Dr. Desbordes. Cutting down on intake carbohydrates and boosting your fluid intake is also suggested. A dry mouth will provide an ideal environment to facilitate the acidic breakdown of your teeth. Daily flossing can also help remove the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those difficult to reach spaces between your teeth. Another important preventative measure is regular check-ups and cleanings at your dentist’s office. For those patients in the Baltimore MD area, call (410) 216-4023 or schedule an appointment online to consult with Dr. Desbordes. If you think you may have a cavity or cavities or would just like a cleaning to prevent them, contact us today!