July 31, 2018
Scheduling a checkup with a dentist in Boonville is essential for protecting your teeth and gums. A qualified dental professional can not only treat the causes of tooth decay, he or she can also explain how cavities start. In this post, we’ll cover the basics of the topic so you can more effectively manage your oral health.
Your Mouth Is a War Zone
It’s true. The inside of your mouth is the stage for an endless battle between your body and harmful bacteria. The goal of the bad guys is to set up shop on the surface of your teeth so they can enjoy an easy living scavenging nutrition from the food you eat. Here’s how this process works:
- Bacteria uses the sugar and starches from your food to survive. This causes the release of corrosive acid, which eats away at the enamel that forms the hard, protective outer shell of your teeth.
- Your body counterattacks by rebuilding the enamel, using minerals in your saliva. Usually, it’s able to undo the damage caused by the acid-secreting bacteria.
- You can tip the balance of power in the bacteria’s favor, however, by eating lots of sugary and starchy foods, by smoking, and by failing to brush and floss. When this happens, the enamel on your teeth begins to dissolve, exposing the sensitive inner layers to infection.
- The result is a hole in the tooth, usually referred to as a cavity. If this isn’t treated by a dental professional, then the infection will continue to spread until the tooth itself is too far gone to save.
- At this point, the dentist must perform an extraction. Otherwise, the bacteria could continue its harmful work by attacking the bones in your jaw and likely spreading throughout your body. Should that happen, possible complications include heart disease and stroke.
How to Help Your Teeth Win the War
All of us should do everything possible to help our teeth win their battle against bad bacteria. Here are some steps you can take:
- Brush at least twice a day. Brushing after every meal is preferable.
- Avoid eating anything after brushing your teeth in the evening. Your body curtails saliva production while you’re asleep, giving harmful bacteria an added advantage against your body.
- Limit between meal snacks, especially sugary or starchy items. Consider adding more green, leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains to your diet.
- Drink lots of water. This helps to boost saliva production.
- Consider taking multivitamins. Ask your dentist or general care physician to recommend a brand.
- Floss daily. This removes plaque that brushing can miss.
- Find a dentist. Ask your favorite search engine “where can I find a dentist near me?” You should get some useful results.
Cavity prevention takes a lifelong commitment to safeguarding your dental health. Use the information in this post as your guide in fighting the good fight against tooth decay. In years to come, you’ll look back and smile at the good choices you make today.
About the Author
Dr. Joseph T. Kelly is an honor graduate of the University of Iowa School of Dentistry. You can reach Dr. Kelly’s office online or by calling (660) 882-7522.
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