Proactive Vs. Reactive
What is tooth decay and how does it happen? The foods we eat and beverages consumed feed the bacteria already present in the mouth. Bacteria produces acids that can penetrate protective dental enamel resulting in a cavity. Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent harmful plaque from forming on teeth that can lead to decay and/or gum disease.
Consistent visits to the dentist allow for early detection of most oral conditions. Allow your dentist to take x-rays whenever recommended as decay caught early allows for a smaller repair which means much less of your tooth’s structure needs to be removed.
If decay is allowed to grow, the need for more extensive repair may be required. This can include a root canal followed by a dental crown to seal the tooth. These are measures that you might be able to avoid with great daily oral care and regular visits with your dentist.
Prevention is Optimal, but Early Detection is Very Important
There are steps you can take to try to prevent dental decay.
Dental Sealants – The chewing surfaces of teeth never treated for a cavity can be coated with a product that seals the surface of the tooth protecting areas where cavities often form. Since decay often occurs in the early years, children can benefit greatly from sealants.
Fluoride – Drinking tap water is an excellent source, but your dentist offers fluoride treatments if needed.
Use a fluoridated toothpaste to brush; and if recommended, add a fluoride rinse to your daily regimen.
Diet – A healthy daily diet will enhance overall and oral health. Limit sugary snacks; read labels on the foods and beverages you consume; limit or avoid drinking soda (but if you do, use a straw and drink with a meal); rely on healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein as your primary sources of nourishment.
Visit our dentist, Dr. Barry Buchanan, every six months; if decay does occur, there are restorative dental options that will be virtually impossible to detect, and will stop the harmful decay from growing.