Your tooth enamel—which is the outer, thin layer of your teeth—helps protect your teeth as you chew, bite, crunch, and grind. It also helps insulate your teeth from extreme temperatures to reduce sensitivity. Although it is thin, your enamel is considered the hardest tissue in your body. However, it is capable of chips, cracks, and even wearing down and weakening over time—which can lead to tooth decay if not cared for properly.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the result of your tooth enamel breaking down. Plaque—which is a thin film of bacteria—is always forming on your teeth, attracted to the sugars and starches in the foods you eat. Plaque produces numerous toxins and acids that break down your tooth enamel over time, causing a cavity to form, which appears as a small hole in your teeth. Left untreated, the decay can advance, leading to more serious issues that can result in tooth loss.
How do I prevent tooth decay and cavities?
To prevent tooth decay and cavities, you must practice healthy dental care habits, including:
- Brush your teeth for two full minutes, twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth at least once each day. Floss can actually help clean the spaces in-between your teeth that your toothbrush is unable to reach.
- Eat foods with high nutritional values such as fruits and vegetables within balanced meals and reduce your consumption of sugar.
- Drink plenty of water to boost your tooth enamel; water contains fluoride, a healthy mineral that aids in the repair and strengthening of enamel.
- Visit our office regularly for routine checkups and preventative care services such as dental cleaning and fluoride treatments.
By practicing the above dental habits, you can keep tooth decay and cavities at bay while maintaining healthy pearly whites!