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Fight Tooth Decay!

Most of us think of cavities as black spots in our mouth; however, that is not a true statement. To be clear, a cavity forms because of tooth decay. But, we can prevent and reverse the cavity making process.

Before understanding the cavity making process, it is important to know how cavities begin. Inside our mouths are hundreds of bacteria that form on our teeth, gums and tongue. However, some bacteria are good, while other types of bacteria can cause harm. 
Dental plaque, colorless and sticky bacteria, found in foods such as cookies, bread, milk and juice, begin to form whenever we consume them. These acid forming foods begin to slowly carve their way into the enamel of our teeth. 

To combat the destructive forces of dental plaque, there are minerals in our saliva plus fluoride that comes from water, toothpaste and other sources that begin to repair the enamel on our teeth by replacing minerals that are lost during the dental plaque attack. Everyday, our teeth go through this “attack.”

A cavity develops when our teeth come in contact with acid-causing foods and drinks such as sugary drinks and starchy foods such as bread and pastries. 
  1. These repeated attacks take away essential minerals from the enamel of the teeth. Then, early decay sets in, placing small white spots on our teeth.
  2. However, tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this stage by minerals in our saliva and fluoride from water or toothpaste.
  3. If tooth decay continues, the enamel on our teeth becomes weak and eventually is destroyed. Dental implants is an effective solution when tooth decay becomes a major problem. 
To prevent or reverse cavities there are several things we can do such as drinking fluoridated water, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, applying a fluoride gel on our teeth or using a fluoride mouth rinse. There are also tips that may prevent cavities such as limiting snacks between meals, limiting candy and cookies from our diet, limiting fruit juice and making sure to brush and floss our teeth every day.

If you have children, make sure that they brush their teeth twice a day, supervise them when they brush and ensure that they spit out the toothpaste, instead of swallowing it. To help with this process, try brushing their teeth for them for awhile and then let them follow your example. 

Another way to prevent cavities is with dental sealants. 
  1. Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. 
  2. Sealants work well because they cover these surfaces and protect our teeth by preventing food and bacteria from becoming trapped in those areas.
  3. Sealants are especially helpful in preventing cavities in children.
To conclude, cavities in adults and children can happen anytime; however, by applying some of the above methods and seeing your dentist twice a year for checkups, you can protect and prevent cavities. Keep in mind, too, that dental implants can provide a solution to teeth that become decayed. Talk with your dentist soon about this dental solution!

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