Tooth decay is permanent. Once you’ve lost the enamel and other tissue in your teeth, you can never get it back. While restorative and cosmetic dental procedures are available to enhance the look of your smile, the best way to mitigate the tooth decay or cavities is through the preventative measures.
Below are some common causes of tooth decay and what you can to keep it from destroying your teeth.
Cause #1: Plaque Formation
Plaque is your tooth’s #1 enemy. Plaque is a clear sticky film that coats the enamel. Plaque forms when bacteria feed off the sugar and starch residue that remains on your teeth after you eat. If don’t brush your teeth, the plaque forms quickly. The plaque can harden and turn to tartar.
Once in a hardened state, you will have a difficult time removing the plaque from the teeth. If you have poor brushing habits – meaning, you don’t brush your teeth as often as you should – the tartar buildup will form a shield over the enamel. Eventually, you will need to visit the dentist to remove the tartar and prevent the plaque from causing tooth decay.
Cause #2: Tooth Location
While you are obsessing over how your front teeth look, bacteria, acid, plaque, and tartar are going to work to break down the enamel and roots of your molars and premolars in the back of your teeth. Molars contain several grooves, pits, and multiple roots – all idea places for food particles to collect and plaque to build.
So, when you brush your teeth, make sure you spend as much time and effort cleaning the back of your teeth as you do the front.
Cause #3: Certain Foods and Beverages
Certain food and drinks form a natural bond with an enamel surface including:
- Dried fruit
- Soda and carbonated beverages
- Dairy items such as milk and ice cream
- Sugar substances such as honey, natural sugar, hard candy, and mints
- Wheat-based snacks and food such as cakes, cookies, and cereal.
Saliva alone will not wash away these items from the surface of your teeth.
4. Poor Brushing Habits
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth after every meal. If you are like most people, you may consume three meals a day. However, you may not be able to brush your three meals a day. If not, try to brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Failure to brush your teeth allows the plaque to buildup quickly and turn to tartar. The first stages of tooth decay can begin.
5. Insufficient Fluoride
Fluoride is essential for tooth decay prevention. It stalls the breakdown of enamel and increases the tooth’s remineralization process. When the new minerals (enamel crystals) formulate, they are stronger than the previous minerals. The acid from the plaque can breakdown tooth enamel and hinder the remineralization process. The result is a weak tooth that becomes vulnerable to decay. Eventually, a cavity will form in the tooth, and you may need to remove it if the decay becomes severe.
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