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How to Prevent Cavities: What You Should Know

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Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is damage to tooth structure leading to pain, tooth infections, and tooth loss. Preventing cavities is one of the main goals of Dr. Elzbieta Paul at Pure Dental Care

Tooth enamel is composed of 95-98%of calcium and phosphate ions forming strong hydroxyapatite crystals. Calcium and phosphate ions have to be present in saliva to ensure the remineralization of your teeth. Fluoride ions increase the process of remineralization creating fluorapatite crystals more resistant to acid attack than hydroxyapatites. However, remineralization in the presence of fluoride will not occur unless adequate amounts of calcium and phosphate ions are available.

Depending on the pH of your mouth and saliva, there is a constant battle between demineralization (losing minerals) and remineralization (adding minerals) of your teeth.

If your teeth bathe in the acidic mouth most of the time, your teeth will lose minerals, get weaker and suffer from cavities. To remineralize your teeth, you need calcium and phosphate ions in your saliva. Healthy saliva rich in these ions is produced in your salivary glands from filtered blood. Remineralization of your teeth depends on the general health of your body.

Demineralization of your teeth is related to low pH and an acidic mouth. An acidic mouth environment is caused by poor dietary choices (high carbohydrates in your diet), poor oral hygiene leading to overgrowth of bad bacteria in your mouth, dry mouth with limited saliva flow, gastric reflux, and other factors.

Your entire body is connected to your mouth. Your diet is key to creating a healthy mouth. The immune system, minerals, and hormones influence your mouth as well. Eating too many processed foods, sugar and flour products upsets your hormones and produces changes for the worse, making your body overly acidic. Diet controls your hormones and hormones control the minerals levels in your body.

Tooth decay is also related to vitamins and minerals deficiency. Vitamin D is essential to balance the ratio of calcium and phosphorus in our bodies. Vitamin A lowers blood serum calcium and helps your body utilize calcium. Vitamin K helps carry calcium into your bones and teeth. Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium and helps build strong teeth.

There are many different measures you can take to prevent cavities, some of which you may already know, and others you may not. Here’s what you should know about preventing cavities from experienced dental professionals.

You Should Brush At Least Twice a Day

Brushing your teeth helps to remove food particles and tartar before it can become plaque. Plaque accumulated lots of acid-producing bacteria, causing cavities.

You Should Floss At Least Once a Day

One of the most common places to get cavities is in between your teeth where food particles get stuck. The food feeds bacteria, which causes decay and leads to cavities. Flossing helps to remove food particles from in between your teeth to prevent cavities from starting.

You Should Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months

Regular oral examinations and dental cleanings are one of the most important steps you can take to prevent cavities and to catch any warning signs of cavities before they start. Your dentist will examine your teeth and mouth and your dental hygienist will clean your teeth at each visit. Cleanings involve scraping away tartar and plaque using special tools, polishing your teeth, and flossing your teeth. 

You Should Have X-Rays of Your Teeth Once a Year

One of your dental visits each year should involve taking X-rays of your teeth. X-rays show any cavities or weak spots in your teeth that may be difficult to detect with the naked eye, possibly because of their location (such as in between the teeth). X-rays will also alert the dentist to any abnormalities in your oral health that may need to be addressed. 

Fluoride and Non-fluoride Treatments Strengthen Tooth Enamel to Prevent Cavities

At your regular dental visits, we may recommend fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatment is a concentrated fluoride solution that is applied to the teeth to strengthen the tooth enamel so that cavities are less likely to occur. If you concern about fluoride treatments ask us about non-fluoride remineralizing agents during your next dental checkup.

Your Diet Affects Your Chances of Developing Cavities

You probably know that sugary and highly acidic foods are bad for your teeth. Sugar coats your teeth and feeds cavity-causing bacteria. Acidic foods weaken your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. What you may not know is the fact that how often you eat or drink can also increase your chances of getting cavities. When you are constantly sipping on sweetened beverages, your teeth are repeatedly bathed in sugar, which increases your chances of developing cavities. If you prefer to consume sugary or acidic foods or beverages, finish them in one sitting, and then brush your teeth afterward. 

Avoid Stress

When people are stressed they often crave comfort foods such as sugar and starch. The secretion of saliva is also negatively affected by stress and anxiety by increased production of stress hormones.

Preventative Dentistry at Pure Dental Care Helps Prevent Cavities

The main purpose of preventive dentistry is to help patients keep their natural teeth for their entire lifetime. Preventing cavities is a necessary part of that goal. While cavities can be filled, each one weakens the tooth and leaves it vulnerable. When a cavity gets too deep, it can lead to a root canal or even loss of a tooth if the decay is too significant for the tooth to be saved. 

Pure Dental Care wants to help you keep your original smile intact. If you have any questions regarding cavity prevention or you would like to come for a check-up with a caries risk assessment, please call 908-218-7999 today to make an appointment at our Hillsborough, NJ office.

You can also request an appointment online.