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Understanding How Tooth Decay Destroys Your Tooth

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Understanding How Tooth Decay Destroys Your Tooth

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Tooth decay is damage to your tooth’s surface, also known as the enamel. When left untreated, it can lead to many dental health issues and even result in your tooth becoming loose or needing to be extracted. At Mountain Aire Dentistry, we want to teach you just how tooth decay attacks your smile and what you can do to prevent it. 

What is Tooth Decay? 

Tooth decay is damage to a tooth’s enamel, the surface of the tooth. This is the result of bacteria creating acids in your mouth that attack the enamel. Tooth decay can lead to cavities, which are small holes in the teeth. If left untreated, tooth decay can result in pain, infection, and even loss of the tooth.

Our Mouths + Bacteria

Our mouths contain hundreds of different kinds of bacteria that live on every surface within our mouth. We need some of this bacteria to maintain a healthy balance in the mouth, however, some bacteria are harmful and can contribute to the tooth decay, or cavity, process. Harmful bacteria can lead to an infection in the mouth once it combines with the sugars we consume. 

Each day, our mouth works to stay balanced. Dental plaque (a clear, sticky film) in conjunction with sugar and starch from our diets can begin to produce acid. These acids begin to wear away at the surfaces of our teeth, damaging the enamel. To fight this, our saliva, which contains calcium and phosphate, works with the fluoride you consume to try to repair the enamel by replacing the minerals destroyed by the acid. 

The Development of Cavities

When we frequently expose our teeth to acid, either by drinking and eating often or consuming sugary things, our teeth get attacked time and time again without proper time to recover. Due to this, the enamel will begin to lose minerals and you might begin to notice a white spot at the site of mineral loss — one of the beginning signs of tooth decay. 

At this stage, tooth decay can be reversed. Enamel can repair itself if you are using fluoride from toothpaste or other sources, however, if you don’t, the process can continue. If you let decay continue developing, it can lead to a cavity, which is permanent damage to your tooth that can only be treated by a dentist. 

Using Fluoride

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research explains that fluoride is important in helping our mouths heal the loss of minerals on its own to prevent tooth decay from progressing. Fluoride has been shown to reverse, or stop, early signs of decay. Fluoride protects teeth by:

  • Preventing mineral loss in tooth enamel and replacing lost minerals.
  • Reducing the ability of bacteria to create acid. 

You can consume fluoride by:

  • Drinking fluoride tap water — about 75% of Americans live in communities that have fluoridated tap water. 
  • Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Getting a fluoride varnish from your dentist to directly apply on the affected teeth.
  • Using fluoride tablets prescribed by a dentist.
  • Swishing a fluoride mouth rinse. 

Preventing Tooth Decay

The best way to treat tooth decay is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can do this by using fluoride now, even if you’re  not showing signs of decay or cavities. Further, to prevent decay and cavities, you should:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. You should brush every surface of each tooth in gentle, circular motions. Do not brush the gum line directly as this can irritate them and make them more susceptible to injury. 
  • Floss at least once per day. Your toothbrush can’t reach the tight spaces between each tooth. To remove plaque, food, and other debris from these areas, you have to floss. 
  • See your dentist every six months. If you are in good oral health, you only need to see your dentist for a cleaning and exam twice a year. However, if you have a history of dental health issues or ongoing dental health conditions, it may be recommended that you have a cleaning and exam more frequently to keep your smile healthy. 
  • Watch what you eat. Try to limit the amount of sweets you eat and focus more on a diet filled with whole foods. 

Make an Appointment with Mountain Aire Dentistry

No matter if you are showing signs of tooth decay or aren’t having signs of problems at all, we are here for you. Schedule an exam with Dr. Robert Berry and Mountain Aire Dentistry today by calling 

 


291 E Flatiron Crossing Dr,
Broomfield, CO 80021

(303) 731-7755

 

When you visit our Broomfield dental office, your smile is our top priority. Our Dentists invite you to experience the difference a warm and caring team can provide for you and your family. Enjoy a unique and comfortable dental experience designed to bring a healthier and happier smile back into your life. We invite you to call or visit our Broomfield dental office and discover the exceptional difference we offer to those we serve.

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