Tooth decay causes the destruction of your tooth enamel, which is the hard, outer layer of your teeth. That is what a cavity is – a little hole where the enamel has eroded.
Sticky films of bacteria, also known as plaque, constantly form across your teeth. When sugary foods are consumed, this bacteria produces harmful acids which are kept in constant contact with your teeth because of the stickiness of the plaque. This leads to the erosion of the enamel, and this is how cavities are formed.
Cavities are a common problem with children, but they can be a problem for anyone of any age. (Bacteria certainly doesn’t care how old you are!) Changes that come with aging can contribute to cavities as well. For example, the recession of gum tissue from the teeth can expose the roots of teeth to plaque and make them more vulnerable to cavities. Decay around the edges of fillings can also occur commonly in adults.
Remember, ONLY YOU can prevent tooth decay, and here’s how…
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss or clean between your teeth with an interdental cleaner on a daily basis.
- Visit your dentist regularly and make your six month professional cleaning and exam a priority.
- Limit the amount of sticky foods and sugary beverages you consume and watch your snacking habits. The key to keeping a healthy smile is using moderation as you enjoy the foods you love.