Tooth Decay: Causes and Treatment
Tooth decay is one of the most common health issues in the world. Tooth decay can permanently damage the structure of the tooth. It can lead to bad breath, sensitivity and cavities. Over time, you may develop gum disease or abscesses. Understanding the origins of tooth decay can help you avoid it.
Your body naturally harbors millions of bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth include both harmless and harmful strains. These bacteria consume the sugars from the foods you eat. Once the sugars have been broken down, they are released as an acid, which leaches minerals from the enamel. The sugars and bacteria combine with other substances to create dental plaque, a sticky white biofilm on your teeth.
Saliva helps remineralize teeth. After you eat, your saliva washes back over your teeth to dilute acid, rinse away debris and rebuild the surface of the teeth. However, plaque buildup and large colonies of bacteria could demineralize teeth faster than they can be remineralized. This leads to decay on the surface of the tooth. Over time, you will develop a cavity. Once tooth structure has been lost, the only way to restore it is through a dental filling.
To reduce your risk of tooth decay, keep your teeth clean. Brush two minutes at a time at least twice a day. Floss or use an interdental cleaner daily to clean the bacteria and plaque from forming between the teeth. Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to further strengthen your teeth, and visit us twice a year for cleanings. Call us to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our root canal dentist in Los Angeles.
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