Some things never change and visiting your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check up is one of them.
A cleaning leaves your teeth feeling and looking great.
And, while you’re here, we’ll provide you any information you might need to help ensure you’ve got top-notch oral hygiene. You might think you’ve got brushing and flossing all figured out, we’ll make sure that you do.
We’ll also discuss what you can do to protect your teeth moving forward, including fluoride treatment, which has proven to be an effective means of warding off tooth decay.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is the destruction of the hard, outer layer of your teeth, which is known as the enamel. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel breaks down, which is when cavities form.
Aren’t Cavities Just Kid’s Stuff?
Cavities are more common among children but changes that occur with aging make them a problem with adults too. Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots (which are covered with a softer tissue than enamel). Decay around the edges of fillings is also very common for adults.
Because many older adults lacked fluoride treatments and modern preventative dental care when growing up, they often have a number of dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken and tend to fracture and leak around the edges, allowing bacteria to accumulate and buildup, leading to decay. Even with today’s advance technology, most fillings last about 10 to 15 years before needing replacement from daily usage.
Also, the less you take care of your teeth at home, the more susceptible to decay you are, no matter what your age is. Brushing morning and night helps prevent decay, as well as regular daily flossing and keeping your regular cleanings and checkups with us.
How Do I Prevent Tooth Decay?
There are many practices you can adopt to help prevent decay:
- brush after every meal and snack (at least twice a day)
- clean between your teeth daily with floss
- see if sealants are right for you (keep in mind many insurance plans have an age limit for coverage on sealants, so you’ll want to check with them first.)
- visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examinations