Preventive Dental Care
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is a common oral health problem that occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that attack and break down the hard outer surface (enamel) of the teeth. When the enamel is weakened or damaged, holes (cavities) can form in the teeth. Tooth decay can affect people of all ages and is caused by a combination of factors, including poor oral hygiene, a diet high in sugary or acidic foods and drinks, and certain types of bacteria that are present in the mouth.
Tooth decay can lead to a range of oral health problems, including tooth pain, infection, and tooth loss. It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist regularly, to prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy teeth and gums. If tooth decay is not treated, it can progress and cause more serious problems, including abscesses (infections) and tooth loss.
Are certain people more prone to tooth decay than others?
Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, and certain people may be more prone to developing cavities than others. Some factors that can increase the risk of tooth decay include:
Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly, or not brushing and flossing effectively, can allow bacteria to build up in the mouth and increase the risk of tooth decay.
Diet: A diet high in sugary or acidic foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and produce acid, which can attack and weaken the enamel of the teeth.
Dry mouth: Saliva helps to neutralize the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth and wash away food particles. People with dry mouth (xerostomia) may have a higher risk of tooth decay because they do not have enough saliva to neutralize acid and wash away food particles.
Certain medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Age: Children and older adults may be more prone to tooth decay because their teeth and gums may be more susceptible to damage from bacteria and acid.
Genetics: Some people may be more prone to tooth decay due to genetic factors.
It is important for everyone to practice good oral hygiene and follow a healthy diet to reduce the risk of tooth decay. If you are concerned about your risk of tooth decay, you should discuss this with your dentist.
How do acidic foods damage your teeth?
Acidic foods can cause tooth enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth, to break down or erode. When tooth enamel is eroded, it can lead to tooth sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities.
When you eat or drink acidic foods, the acid can soften and weaken the tooth enamel. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods or drinks, the toothbrush bristles can scrub away some of the softened enamel, leading to further damage. It’s generally a good idea to wait at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth to allow the enamel time to harden again.
To help protect your teeth from the effects of acidic foods, you can try rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking acidic items. You can also try eating acidic foods or drinks with a meal rather than on their own, as this can help neutralize the acidity. Finally, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using a fluoride toothpaste.
Detecting a dental problem in the early stages allows our doctors to use a more conservative treatment plan.
Having a beautiful smile can enhance your self-esteem, boost your confidence, and help you make better first impressions.
The dentists at Metairie Dental Centre can determine the best of several restorative dental treatment options available.
Our dentists use laser gum surgery to eliminate the bacteria that cause gum disease with less discomfort and faster healing times.
Straight teeth can give you a more confident and beautiful smile, but did you know that they can help improve your oral health, too?
The dentists at Metairie Dental Centre understand that dental treatments can be nerve-racking for some of our patients.
1304 Clearview Pkwy, Metairie, LA 70001