Teeth are made of calcium, phosphates and other components integrated together to form a complex structure.
Bacteria are normally present in the mouth. They are found in plaque which builds up on tooth surfaces within minutes after eating. These bacteria act on the sugars in the food and release acids as by products which dissolve the minerals in the tooth (destructive/demineralisation phase). The tooth structure is softened, and could breakdown to form holes.
However, this does not always happen because the saliva in the mouth restores the lost minerals and attempts to bring the tooth back to its original form (healing/remineralisation phase).The tooth is hence in a constant dynamic process of demineralisation and remineralisation. It is only when the destructive phase lasts longer than the healing phase that cavities are formed.
Measures can be taken to prevent cavies, such as:
Oral hygiene maintenance
Pit and fissure sealants
Below is a more detailed explanation of each measure to better inform you on the prevention of cavities.
Diet Modification :
By reducing the availability of sugars in the mouth for the bacteria to work upon, cavity occurrence could be controlled.
Intake of sticky sugary food should be minimised and are best eaten as a part of the meal at one time. In-between snacking and sipping on sugary drinks provides a constant supply of acid in the mouth. This leaves the teeth with very little time to restore the lost minerals, hence more cavities.
Fluorides when integrated into the tooth structure are believed to make them more resistant to wear on acid attacks. Fewer cavities have been demonstrated in people who drink fluoridated water. They can be applied on the tooth surface topically in the form of tooth pastes, gels & mouth rinses therefore significantly reducing the chance of a cavity if used regularly.
Oral Hygiene :
Bacteria are present in the plaque and tartar on tooth. By careful regular brushing and flossing the bacterial load can be kept under control. Also advisable is professional scaling and polishing at regular intervals by a dentist.
Pit and Fissure Sealants :
The deep groves and fissures on the tooth surface have a tendency to retain food and are more prone to decay. These can be sealed by pit and fissure sealants as a preventive measure by a dentist.
Dental cavities are very common but do not cause pain until deep and close to the nerve of the tooth and do often go unnoticed. So most importantly, regular visits to the dentist for a check up and clean -polish would not only prevent them but also arrest and /or treat them at an early stage.
Start taking steps now to ensure you have as little time in the dentist chair as needed, which could save you time, money and potentially some physical discomfort.
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Article Added on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
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