You’re familiar with what a cavity is and does, but you’ve always been curious about what causes it. What manner of evil could produce such a terror? Your curiosity has been peaked and you have decided to find the answers. Intent upon helping you fulfill your quest, your dentist in East Longmeadow weighs in on the matter.
The Stages of Cavity Formation
Cavities develop through stages until eventually becoming full menaces. These stages are based upon your level of urgency. If you have no urgency in regard to the negative changes you see and feel in your mouth, then the initial phase will proceed until reaching a more severe condition.
- Initial Plaque Formation – The first phase of tooth decay involves plaque formation. And this is the result of certain bacteria that live in the mouth, especially thriving on sugars leftover from food and drinks. When the residue of these products is left on your teeth, the bacteria latch on and feed, developing acids. These acids, along with food particles and saliva, form a layer of plaque on your teeth.
- Penetrating the Enamel – After the plaque forms, the acids wear through the enamel, boring tiny holes.
- Invading the Dentin – If the invasion is not stopped at the enamel level, the soft dentin layer is then attacked.
- Root Decay – If you fail to act with urgency, then the decay will continue to the pulp. At this advanced stage, the pulp becomes irritated, and the bone that supports the tooth may be involved as well. This can also lead to an abscess and require a root canal to repair it.
How to Prevent Cavities
One of the primary causes of bacteria and plaque buildup is poor oral care. Your mouth is like an oven, and bacteria love warmth to grow in.
- Brush and Floss Regularly – To prevent them from feeling comfortable, make sure to brush and floss your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day. This removes the leftover particles that are essential to bacteria growth.
- Maintain Proper Tongue Care – Your tongue is quite important to your oral health, as it is a hotbed for bacteria growth. If they are allowed to accumulate on the tongue, bacteria can be deposited on your teeth as well. But, by brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth, and scraping it at least once a day, you take another major step in limiting the presence of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
- Limit Snacking and Grazing – If you constantly snack and graze, you are also constantly bathing your mouth in bacteria and acids. And as previously mentioned, this can become a problem.
- Eat Sugar-Free Candy – If you decide to have some candy, be sure to get the sugar free kind. This will prevent the extreme acid and bacteria buildup on your teeth and gums that can occur with sucking on a sugary piece of candy.
One of the great assets you have is your East Longmeadow dentist. By getting in for visits at least twice a year, you will prevent any of these conditions from getting out of control. You deserve optimum oral health, and with this information put into effect, you certainly will have it.
About the Author
Dr. Steve Scanell earned his B.A. at Alfred University and M.A. from SUC Genesco. He would go on to earn his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Scanell is also a proud member of several professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, Valley District Dental Society, and the University of Buffalo Dental Alumni Association. He practices at Drs. Scanell and Hollinger, Inc, and can be reached for more information about his services through his website.