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Cavities: What You Need to Know?

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things. In medical terms, cavities are called caries. They are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the inner layer- dentin. These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates such as soda, candy, ice cream or even milk or crackers. When your oral hygiene is far from perfect, they are left inside your mouth, breaking down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work by producing endotoxins and acid. The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures. Tooth decay is a bacterial infection. Bacteria can spread to the mouths of other family members. It is very important to stop spreading these bacteria- especially from parents to their kids. If cavities aren't treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.

Preventing Cavities

The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. If you don’t accept Fluoride then look for the products with 25% of Xylitol and/or Hydroxyapatite. Your body's own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing. It is important to regularly visit your hygienist for dental hygiene preventive procedures and your dentist for check-ups and diagnostic x-rays. Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:

  • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods especially sweets.

  • A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.

  • Teeth that change colour.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk, formula, and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby's primary teeth, which can later affect the proper formation of permanent teeth. One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle with milk or formula while going to sleep. Only pure water at night is acceptable. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup at meal time will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.


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