October 21, 2016
Cavities are no fun. The National Center for Health Statistics says 27 percent of American adults have untreated tooth decay, and this leads to tooth loss and spread of unhealthy bacteria. Dr. Donald Warner, Windham dentist, urges preventive care both at home and in the dental office to reduce the risk of dental decay.
Where Cavities Come From
A cavity is a hole in a tooth’s outermost layer called enamel. As oral bacteria contained in sticky plaque left on teeth from food and beverages secrete acid, enamel deteriorates, creating a cavity. Deep cavities go into the inner dentin and the soft pulp chambers that contain blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. When neglected, toothache and abscess, or infection, result, necessitating fillings, root canal therapy or even tooth extraction.
Diet Can Cause Cavities
Your preventive dentist in Windham tells patients that processed sugar and starches contribute to tooth decay. As kids, we learned that eating candy and drinking soda pop causes cavities. However, did you know that starchy white breads, pasta, and breakfast cereal foster plaque build-up? Frequent snacking throughout the day without benefit of brushing and flossing does the same thing.
Also, poor hydration causes a dental condition called xerostomia. In layman’s terms, this is dry mouth, or insufficient saliva production. Drinking eight to ten glasses of water daily washes away food residue and plaque. It stimulates the salivary glands to produce the watery fluid called saliva with its beneficial enzymes and antibacterial properties.
Another villain which causes tooth decay is acidic food. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, soda pop and even certain fruit and vegetable juices contain high levels of corrosive acid. Yes, even something that is packed with vitamins and minerals can damage your teeth.
Diet Can Prevent Decay
Here are some tips for a tooth-friendly diet:
- Limit candy, soda pop and other sugar-laden treats. If you do consume them, rinse with water and brush.
- Increase daily portions of high fiber breads, low-fat meats and calcium-rich dairy products. These strengthen tooth enamel and keep it clean.
- Eat fibrous fruits and green veggies such as carrots, apples, spinach and kale.
- Drink a minimum of eight to ten glasses of water daily to moisturize soft oral tissues, stimulate saliva and cleanse teeth.
- Chew sugarless gum, with xylitol, to reduce oral bacteria and acidity in the mouth.
See Your Dentist
Donald Warner DDS advises you follow the guidelines of the American Dental Association: brush your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft brush. Also, floss in between and around teeth each day to keep ahead of plaque and tartar.
Visit Dr. Warmer semi-annually for oral check-ups and professional cleanings to catch problems at their earliest stages and to keep remove plaque and tartar your brush misses. He may recommend plastic sealants and fluoride treatments as additional protection against decay.
Please contact Lifetime Dental Health to schedule your appointment. Ask about our $128 new patient special.
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