Whether you’re an adult, a growing young person, or an older adult, dental hygiene should be an essential part of everyday life. Once baby teeth fall out, we usually only get one chance to keep the teeth we have. Depending on genetics, diet, and a few other factors, some of us might be at a higher risk for tooth decay, which makes it especially important to involve the help of a professional dentist practice. Tooth decay is largely preventable, it just takes a lot of diligent dental care and special attention to what we eat and drink daily. In this blog we’ll go over some of the most pertinent questions related to tooth decay, including what you can do to prevent it.
Q: What happens when a tooth decays?
A: Tooth decay is basically damage caused to the enamel of your teeth – the exterior protective layer. When a tooth decays, the enamel is slowly eaten away by plaque and bacteria buildup as it reacts with acidic compounds found in sugary foods and drinks. Unfortunately when the enamel breaks down the tooth becomes highly susceptible to cavities, and eventually more severe dental issues like root destruction. Tooth decay occurs every day if we don’t take the proper precautions to keep enamel from being destroyed or dissolved. Here’s what to remember about tooth decay:
- Plaque builds up on your teeth each day
- Plaque and bacteria buildup react with compounds found in sugary foods
- This process destroys your tooth enamel
- As enamel breaks down the tooth becomes highly susceptible to cavities and root damage, leading to costly dental procedures
Q: Who is at risk of tooth decay?
A: The truth is that we’re all at risk of tooth decay. However some of us are more likely to encounter tooth decay than others, which means it’s important to consult with your dentist on how to best care for your own teeth. Individuals who consume a lot of sugar each day, children and adolescents who are developing brushing and dental hygiene habits, and older adults who are unable to follow a dental hygiene routine each day are at the highest risk of tooth decay, but it’s important to remember that there are a few factors besides age and diet that may put you at risk.
Q: What factors contribute to tooth decay?
A: Tooth decay usually doesn’t occur by itself; under the right conditions your teeth may never decay to the point of requiring special dental care. However, there are certain factors that surely contribute to tooth decay. Here are just a few to keep in mind:
- Large quantities of sugar consumption
- Poor dental hygiene habits
- Neglected routine dental visits
Q: What can I do to prevent tooth decay?
A: As you might have guessed, when trying to prevent tooth decay it’s important to address the factors that contribute to tooth decay present in your own daily life. Here is a short list of things you can do to prevent tooth decay:
- Practice good dental hygiene habits (brushing and flossing routinely)
- Meet with your dentist at least once a year for a routine cleaning and assessment of dental hygiene
- Use a toothpaste and mouthwash that protect your enamel
- Reduce sugary food and drink consumption to a minimum
Q: How can I properly address tooth decay that has already occurred?
A: Once tooth decay has already occurred, there’s no sense in dwelling on what could have been. It’s important to be proactive about your dental health – especially if you know that your teeth have begun to decay already. Meeting with your dentist to establish an effective dental hygiene routine and sticking to it is the best thing you can do for your teeth. Furthermore, it’s most important to address any cavities or other dental issues so that you can begin with a clean slate.
Here at the family-owned and operated Dental Group of Simi Valley, located in beautiful California, we have been seeing the same families since 1963 to help protect multiple generations from tooth decay. Tooth decay can lead to invasive and costly dental procedures, and our priority is our clients’ health and satisfaction; that’s why we take a preventive approach in our dental practice. If you’re concerned about your dental health, please contact us to schedule an appointment right away.