December 28, 2016
The National Center for Health Statistics says more than one quarter of American adults have cavities they don’t know about or have neglected to treat. This leads to tooth loss and spread of unhealthy bacteria. Wilton dentist, Dr. Tom Pastor, urges preventive care at home and in the office to reduce the risk of decay.
How Cavities Start
Basically, a cavity in Wilton is a hole in the outermost layer of a tooth–the hard enamel. As oral bacteria–Streptococcus mutans–in sticky plaque from our diets secrete acid, enamel degrades, creating a cavity. Cavities can travel into the inner dentin and the soft pulp chambers, or root canals, that contain nourishing blood supply, nerves and connective tissue.
When neglected, toothache and abscess may result, requiring fillings, crowns, root canal therapy or even extraction. Unfortunately, tooth decay has a domino effect. Often accompanied by gum disease, cavities even destroy supporting bone, leading to tooth mobility and loss. Tooth loss impacts personal appearance and overall health.
Diet Can Cause Cavities
Dr. Pastor and his team at Tyngtown Dental tell patients that processed sugars and carbs contribute to tooth decay. As kids, we learned that eating candy and drinking soda pop causes cavities. However, do you realize that starchy breads, pasta, and breakfast cereal create plaque? Snacking throughout the day does, too.
Also, poor hydration causes an oral condition called xerostomia. In ordinary terms, this is dry mouth, or insufficient saliva. Drinking a minimum of eight of water daily washes away food residues and plaque. Water stimulates production of saliva with its beneficial enzymes and antibacterial properties.
Another cause of tooth decay is acidic food. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, and even certain fruit and vegetable juices contain a lot of acid. So, even something that is nutritious can damage your teeth.
What and How You Eat Can Prevent Tooth Decay
Here are some tips to protect against cavities:
- Limit candy, soda pop and other sugary treats. If you do eat them, rinse with water and brush your teeth.
- Increase intake of high-fiber breads, low-fat meats and calcium-rich dairy. These strengthen tooth enamel and keep it clean.
- Eat fibrous fruits and green vegetables such as carrots, apples, spinach and kale.
- Drink at least eight of water daily to moisturize oral tissues, stimulate saliva and rinse teeth and interdental spaces.
- Chew sugarless gum, with xylitol, to reduce both oral bacteria and acidity.
See Dr. Pastor
Dr. Pastor advises you follow these guidelines of the American Dental Association: brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and soft brush. Also, floss in between and around teeth each day to control plaque and tartar.
Visit Tyngtown Dental semi-annually for oral exams and professional cleanings. Preventive dentistry catches problems early and removes plaque and tartar your brush misses. The doctor may recommend plastic sealants and fluoride treatments for added protection against decay. Contact Tyngtown Dental to schedule your routine appointment. Inquire about our new patients specials.
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