Cavities are one of the most common forms of oral health problems. They occur as the result of tooth decay and can be treated in your dental office in Lake Stevens, WA with a filling, or in severe cases, a root canal. What exactly are cavities, how do they form, and what can you do to prevent them? Here is what you need to know:
Tooth Decay Process
Tooth decay occurs as the result of bacteria and sugars building up on your teeth and forming a sticky film called plaque. Bacteria and sugars are almost constantly building, while minerals in your saliva and fluoride from a number of different sources work to protect your teeth and repair damage being done by the plaque to your tooth enamel. You help to tip the balance of power in favor of the protective substances by brushing twice daily and flossing at least once. When you do so, you remove plaque from your teeth and stop the damaging effects. If you don’t, then decay is allowed to progress and a cavity may form.
Over time, if plaque remains on your teeth, it release acids that destroy the minerals in your tooth enamel. Eating acidic or sugary foods and drinks can exacerbate this process. If the loss of enamel isn’t reversed by changes in your oral hygiene routine, then eventually, the enamel will be destroyed and a cavity will form. A cavity is a decayed, damaged part of a tooth that cannot be repaired by your body’s own immune system and must be filled by a dentist. If a cavity is allowed to grow, the decay will spread and may reach the roots of the tooth, in which case a root canal may be necessary.
Being diligent with your oral hygiene routine is the best way to prevent cavities. You should visit your dental office twice yearly for exams and cleanings. During your dental check-ups, your dentist will look for signs of cavities in their early stages and offer tips to help you reverse them so that you can avoid the need for fillings.
The next time you visit your dental office in Lake Stevens, WA, be sure to ask your dentist about fluoride treatments . Most people have heard of fluoride, but not everybody understands how important this mineral is for maintaining strong, healthy teeth. Receiving fluoride treatments from your dentist can be an important part of your oral health routine. Here are some of the ways in which receiving fluoride can benefit you.
Fluoride strengthens the enamel of your teeth. Fluoride is a highly common mineral that is often added to public water supplies to reduce the rate of cavities. When fluoride bonds to your teeth, it has the effect of making them stronger and harder over time. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to eat away at your enamel, and hence helps to protect you from tooth decay. In addition to the fluoride most of us get in our drinking water, many of us can stand to benefit from special fluoride treatments.
Fluoride is especially beneficial for children. Receiving fluoride treatments at a dental office is particularly critical early in life, when your teeth and bones are still in the process of developing. Getting fluoride from a kids’ dentist helps to ensure that your bones and teeth are as strong as possible. It also protects you from early instances of tooth decay, which can pave the way for a lifetime of good oral health.
Fluoride can help adults with existing oral health problems. Even for adults, there are times when fluoride treatments can be extremely helpful. If you have areas of abfraction—wearing of enamel caused by wear and tear over time—or extreme tooth sensitivity, fluoride treatments can help to combat those problems by strengthening your enamel. By reducing your chances of tooth decay, fluoride treatments can also contribute to helping you achieve better overall oral health later in life.
Now that you’ve taken advantage of teeth whitening near Lake Stevens, WA , you’re probably wondering what you can do to keep your smile looking pearly white. Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to protect your whitened teeth.
Brush Your Teeth
Keeping up with proper dental care is one of the best things that you can do to maintain your brighter smile. Toothpaste contains baking soda, a slightly abrasive material, which helps to remove surface stains from your teeth by gently scrubbing them away. When you consistently brush your teeth twice per day, you can help prevent stains from accumulating on your tooth enamel. To take this a step further, choose toothpaste that is specially formulated to whiten teeth. Brushing with a teeth whitening toothpaste can help keep your smile bright long-term.
Avoid Certain Foods
What you eat and drink can have a significant impact on how long your teeth remain stain-free. Some foods and beverages are high in acids, a substance that can cause the enamel on your teeth to become rough and soft and make it more vulnerable to staining. Other compounds to watch for are tannins and chromogens. Foods with high levels of tannins allow stains to stick to your teeth more easily, and chromogens have intense pigments that can cause staining. A few foods and drinks to avoid include red wine, tea, coffee, soda, berries, cherries, pomegranates, balsamic vinegar, and anything tomato-based. When you do consume these foods and beverages, use a straw when possible and rinse or brush your teeth afterward to reduce their stain-promoting effects.
See Your Dentist
If you’re interested in keeping your teeth white, then you have several reasons to regularly visit your dental office. Biannual dental checkups and cleanings not only promote your oral health, but they also help keep your smile bright. Additionally, keeping up with dentist appointments can make it easier for you to schedule touch-ups as needed.
When you lose one or more of your teeth, it can affect your appearance as well as your oral health. If you have missing teeth, then your dentist may recommend dental implants if you’re interested in a smile makeover near Lake Stevens, WA. Choosing implants over other options, like dental bridges or flippers, can be more comfortable and make dental care easier.
Watch this video to find out more about dental implants. Many dentists consider implants to be the best solution for missing teeth. These dental restorations can look and work like your natural teeth, helping to enhance the look of your smile and improve your dental function. Dental implants can be used to stabilize dentures or to replace one or more missing teeth.
When you take your child to see his kids’ dentist for a dental check-up in Lake Stevens, WA, sealants may be recommended. While performing the dental examination , the dentist may advise the use of sealants if your child’s teeth have deep grooves. This is because most dental decay begins in these areas, commonly referred to by dentists as pits and fissures, but can be prevented with the application of sealants.
Sealants can be thought of as a coating for teeth. They are made from a thin, plastic material and are applied to the surfaces of teeth to protect them from decay. For kids who have natural pits and fissures in their teeth, sealants offer a way to prevent bacteria from accumulating in these spots and decaying the tooth material.
While sealants are often advised for children and teenagers, adults can benefit from them as well. If your teeth suffer from decay despite regular and thorough dental care, then ask your dentist if you could benefit from dental sealants.