What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the most common oral health ailment and is the second most common infectious disease (behind a cold) in the United States. The reason tooth decay is classified as an infectious disease is because the bacteria that eat through a tooth’s structure are passed orally from person to person, normally from parents to babies. While the bacterium that eats through teeth is transmittable, the strength of a tooth is also a factor for the development of tooth decay. If tooth enamel is permanently damaged, it leaves the underlying, softer structure of teeth more vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria.
How is tooth decay prevented?
Tooth decay can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding foods and drinks that harm teeth, and scheduling routine checkups and cleanings with a dentist. Practicing good oral hygiene means that patients should brush at least twice a day and floss once every day. Oral hygiene is imperative to removing daily formation of plaque, which can harden into tartar when left unremoved. Brushing and flossing disrupts the colonization of bacteria as well. As for diet, we encourage avoiding sugar and acid because these compounds feed bacteria and strip away minerals that keep teeth strong. Lastly, keeping frequent appointments for checkups and cleanings are a great way to keep teeth healthy and catch potential problems early on.
What are restorations?
When teeth are permanently damaged by decay or a dental injury, a restoration will need to be placed to protect the tooth from further extrinsic damage. A restoration is necessary because a tooth cannot regenerate new tissue to self-heal. Common restorations for small areas of decay are fillings while crowns or inlays are used for damage that is more extensive. The materials used to make restorations are resistant to decay and therefore, can last for many years.
We are accepting new patients at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center. Call our office today to reserve an appointment.