Tooth decay is one of the primary reasons for tooth damage and loss. But what causes it, and why does tooth decay occur? The team at Eastlake Family Dentistry of Chula Vista, CA understands how frustrating it might be to care for the smile and still experience cavities. Drs. Michael Foust and Dr. Joshua Parfitt DMD are here to help patients understand how cavities form and provide recommendations and tips to prevent tooth decay.
What is tooth decay?
The dentists at Eastlake Family Dentistry describe tooth decay as a condition that is the result of acids on the teeth that causes the demineralization of the hard tissues and enamel. When this happens, actual holes develop in the tooth enamel and can become large and deep. This, in turn, can cause an infection inside of the tooth, later requiring solutions such as root canal therapy or even permanent extraction of the tooth itself. This is why it is so vital for patients to see their dentist regularly to catch cavities early and treat them effectively with dental fillings.
What are the causes of tooth decay?
The primary cause of tooth decay is poor oral health habits. This is because without brushing and flossing the teeth, bacteria can develop on the teeth and ferment with carbohydrates and sugars that often stay on the surfaces. By taking good care of the smile, patients can avoid this bacterial growth and maintain healthier smiles free from decay and periodontal disease, another condition that can negatively affect the smile.
What are some tips to prevent tooth decay?
There are many ways in which patients can keep their smile free from cavities:
- Brushing the teeth. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, patients can brush their teeth after meals to remove any sticky residues or foods from the teeth and gums. Patients should also brush their tongues, which can harbor bacteria and contribute to bad breath (halitosis).
- Flossing the teeth. Patients are advised to floss their teeth at least once a day or after every meal when possible. Flossing correctly will remove food particles from between the teeth that can contribute to bacterial growth.
- Visiting the dentist. Patients should visit their dentist at least twice a year for a thorough dental cleaning (prophylaxis) and an evaluation with an experienced team of professionals. During these visits, patients can bring to the dentist’s attention any problems they have noticed since their last appointment.
- Eating a nutritious diet. Enjoying healthy foods can reduce sugar and carbohydrate intake, which is the primary culprit of the beginning stages of tooth decay. Patients should talk to their dentist about foods to avoid and foods to consider, such as dairy products high in calcium that can strengthen teeth.
- Calling a dentist when problems arise. Taking a proactive approach to dental health is vital to ensuring patients catch issues in their earlier stages for effective treatment. If you are experiencing tooth pain, swelling, bleeding, or discomfort, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a dentist, even if your next appointment is months away. This early detection and treatment can significantly reduce more problematic issues that can occur with time.
Who can I visit for examinations and dental cleanings in Eastlake?
At Eastlake Family Dentistry, Drs. Michael Foust and Dr. Joshua Parfitt DMD provide Chula Vista, CA area patients with solutions to improve oral health and avoid the development of common problems such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. Find out more about how to care for the teeth and gums by speaking with our team today! Call (619) 421-2828 to request a consultation visit and initial evaluation with our dentists at 890 Eastlake Parkway, Suite #201. Our office is open to new and established patients and families seeking the best in dental care.