Cavities: When Plaque Attacks

Diabetes and oral health, Greenwood, INThe importance of our teeth cannot be denied. Our teeth help us chew our food, nourishing our bodies and helping us to stay healthy and strong. Teeth make up our smiles which help make first impressions when we meet new people. We have two sets of the teeth in our lifetimes: our baby teeth and our adult teeth. Once you have your adult teeth, usually by the age of twelve to thirteen, it’s crucial to care for them properly as they should last you the rest of your life. One of the most common threats to a long life for your teeth are cavities.

Cavities are another name for spots of tooth decay on our teeth. At these spots, tooth enamel has weakened and broken open, exposing the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within. Your tooth can be sensitive to temperature or touch when you have a cavity and can cause difficulty chewing properly, limiting your diet. After the common cold, cavities are the most frequently diagnosed ailment from which humans suffer.

You may wonder: what causes this threat to my smile and what can I do to prevent them?

The bacteria that live in our mouths tend to concentrate and form plaque in certain places.  These are usually those difficult-to-clean places such as in between teeth and below the gum line. When we eat foods, such as sugars and starches, which contain carbohydrates, the bacteria in our mouths break these substances down, creating acids that bind to the plaque.  Over time this eats away at the enamel of your teeth.

Cavities are usually treated by your dentist with fillings. Holes or weakened areas in tooth enamel are reinforced or filled with various substances. Fillings halt the process of decay by denying any further bacteria and acids access to the compromised part of the tooth. Fillings can be comprised of various substances including composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Dr. Goris will consult with you to decide which route would work best for your teeth.   

The prevention of cavities is easier than the cure as with many conditions.  Brushing at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste is recommended. Cutting down on carbohydrates and keeping properly hydrated is also suggested. A dry mouth can speed up the breakdown of your teeth.  Daily flossing is advised to clear away the plaque and prevent the formation of cavities in those spaces between teeth. Most importantly, schedule regular check-ups and cleanings at our office. If you think you may be suffering from a cavity, would like to know more about how to prevent cavities or have any other dental need, call 317.888.4044 or make an appointment online today to consult with Dr. Goris.