In this article, I’d like to provide a better understanding of the increased rate of tooth decay that I am seeing in my practice. The factors leading to tooth decay are easy to understand but I find implementing the changes are often more difficult.
Let us first review how dental decay forms in the first place:
Certain types of bacteria commonly found in the mouth can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the enamel that cover the teeth. If they’re not removed, they multiply resulting in a thicker plaque formation. The bacteria in the plaque feed on sugars and starches from foods such as chocolates, sticky sweets, ice cream, and even fruits, vegetables and juices, producing acid as a byproduct. This acid then begins to slowly dissolve the tooth enamel (the outer hard layer of the tooth) until a cavity is formed. If the dentist does not remove the decay, it progresses to the dentin (inner sensitive second layer) of the tooth, where it spreads even more quickly. If still ignored, in some time, the decay spreads to the nerves and blood vessels in the centre of the tooth leading to a tooth abscess and severe dental pain.
The bacterial attack is so gradual that there may be no pain or sensitivity until the cavity becomes quite large. The larger the original cavity is prior to being filled, the more lingering problems can exist. I am, however, happy to say that with the newer techniques and materials in modern dentistry we have a very high chance of success and comfort with even the largest of fillings. At our office we strive to instill preventive techniques in our patients, followed by early detection in instances where the decay has indeed formed a cavity.
Removing plaque and bacteria before acid can penetrate the enamel layer of the tooth while at the same time minimizing the sugars that feed the bacteria. This can be achieved by:
Good oral hygiene habits: Brushing carefully (inside, outside and between your teeth) at least twice a day, flossing daily, using fluoridated toothpaste.
Food habits: Cutting down on sweets especially in between meals, while replacing sugary beverages and snacks with non-sugary alternatives.
Regular dental checkups: To reinforce good oral care, detection of early signs of problems, and professional removal of plaque from the teeth.
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Dr. Shimi maintains a general dentistry practice in Richmond Hill with a strong emphasis on Cosmetic Dentistry, Implant Dentistry, Invisalign and All on 4. Yonge Smiles Dental centre serves clients from Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges, Aurora, Stouffville, Vaughan, Thornhill, and surrounding areas.