With the holiday season in full swing, sugary treats are in abundance—which means your teeth just might be at risk for tooth decay. Before you begin to indulge in your favorite sweets, here are a few things you should know about cavities and how to prevent them.
1. Sugar really does “rot your teeth,” but other foods cause cavities too.
We’ve heard that sugar rots your teeth since we were children, and with good reason! When plaque breaks down sugars in your mouth, it creates acids that soften your dental enamel (the outer layer and protective shell of your tooth). Essentially, the more sugar you consume, the more acid the plaque produces. However, acidic foods can wear away the enamel on your teeth too—such as coffee, citrus fruits, and soft drinks. This process is known as tooth decay and, over time, this decay will leave a pit or cavity on the surface of the tooth. So each time you indulge, you’re putting your teeth at risk if you don’t take the proper precautions!
2. Timing is everything.
Even healthy foods like fruits can lead to cavities, so it’s difficult to eliminate sugar from our diet completely. However, brushing your teeth right after meals can have a positive impact on your oral health. From the moment that the sugar enters your mouth, it takes about 20 minutes for the bacteria in plaque to convert it from sugar into an acid. This acid is what can create cavities over time. By brushing your teeth before this process can begin, you remove the plaque and protect your teeth from damage.
3. Cavities are easily treatable if taken care of promptly!
It is very important that you visit your dentist immediately if you think you have a cavity. At Valley Dental Care, we offer tooth colored fillings that not only treat the point of decay, but also are virtually invisible. By treating your cavity with a filling immediately, you prevent the decay from further damaging the tooth and needing more extensive repairs.
4. Cavities are more likely to form between teeth.
Bacteria can hide in all of the tiny nooks and crannies in your mouth and, if left over time, can slowly attack your enamel until a cavity forms. This is why it’s much more likely for cavities to form between the teeth than on the open surfaces. You might also find that cavities often form on the hard-to-reach places on your molars. This is why careful brushing and flossing is very important to preventing cavities.
5. There are quite a few things you can do to prevent cavities.
Never fear – preventing cavities can be easy! First, be certain to brush and floss regularly, and make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride so you can prevent cavities by slowing down the breakdown process of your dental enamel. Eating healthy is another important step to preventing cavities – try cutting down on candies, sodas, and other junk foods that are heavy in sugar. When you do eat these sugary sweets, be sure to brush immediately afterwards. Finally, regular check-ups with your dentist are critical to maintaining your oral health and ensuring tooth decay is stopped at its earliest stages.
Think you might be suffering from a cavity? Call Valley Dental Care today to schedule your check-up and stop tooth decay in its tracks.