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Archive for June 2013

Simple Tips for Cavity Prevention

There are many simple things that one can do to prevent cavities:

Fluoride:  Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities. Fluoride can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage — by helping the teeth repair themselves. Due to its benefits for cavity prevention, fluoride is now added to many public water supplies. It’s also a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouth rinses.

Practice daily home care: A highly fluoridated toothpaste (PreviDent) may be commended for you if you are very prone to dental decay.  Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably. Consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively. Floss; gently pull the floss from the gum line to the top of the tooth to scrape off plaque. Rub the floss against all sides of the tooth. If it’s hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder or an interdental cleaner — such as a dental pick or stick designed to clean between the teeth.

Minimize sugar and acid:  Minimize sweets over periods of the day. It may not be quantity but frequency of the sugar intake that causes decay. Beware of sugar content in foods – e.g chips, milk, pasta sauce and fruit juice. Try using sugar substitutes in coffee and tea.

Dental checkups: Keep your regular dental checkups, at least every 6 months.  Have appropriate radiographs (x-rays) taken for early detection, removal of decay and to receive professional fluoride treatments

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What is a cavity?

This a frequent question that we get asked. Most people are aware that a cavity is a “hole” in the tooth.

What is not commonly understood is that it is in fact an infectious process.  A cavity, also called tooth decay or caries, is a bacterial infection of the tooth that results in the destruction of tooth structure by acid.  This acid is produced by the bacteria in our mouths when we ingest sugars, which are used by the bacteria as a food source.  A small cavity may cause no pain but a large cavity can result in tooth pain as well as fracture of the tooth as a result of the decayed and softened tooth structure.  Any kind of acidity in the mouth can contribute to cavities as well , whether it is from our diet (acidic foods such as fruit juices, soft drinks etc.) or from stomach acids (acid reflux).

Here are some reasons you may be at risk:

• Frequent snacking
• Sipping sugary drinks (coffee or tea with sugar, soda pop )
• Eating or drinking a high amount of fruit juices or fruit (especially citrus fruit)
• Exposed root surfaces
• Teeth that trap food
• Dry mouth from medications

Our next post will cover simple recommendations to prevent cavities.

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