Dental Excellence Integrative Center | Cosmetic Dentistry, Six Month Smile and Dentures

Exploring Tooth Decay: Its Causes & Prevention

April 30, 2024

Tooth decay is an unfortunate reality for many people, but it doesn't have to be. By understanding the causes and taking steps to prevent it, you can protect your teeth and maintain a healthy smile. In fact, dental cavities are largely preventable with good oral care habits. Despite this, 60-90% of children worldwide and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, occurs when a sticky film called plaque accumulates on the surfaces of your teeth. Bacteria in this plaque metabolize the sugars in your diet and produce acids that eat away at healthy tooth structure. Over time, this can lead to significant damage to your teeth, including cavities, nerve damage, dental infections, tooth loss, and even more severe consequences for your overall health.

Factors contributing to tooth decay:

  • Insufficient Oral Hygiene – By not regularly brushing and flossing your teeth or seeing your dentist for periodic dental cleanings, dental plaque can accumulate and lead to the formation of cavities and gum disease.
  • Poor Nutrition – A diet high in sugars, frequent snacking, as well as acidic food and drinks create an oral environment that promotes tooth decay.
  • Dry Mouth – When dental saliva is not available to constantly bathe the teeth due to medical conditions or prescription drugs, cavities are more likely to develop.
  • Teeth Grinding – Chronic teeth grinding strips away the outer protective layer of enamel and makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
  • Enamel Defects and Deeply Grooved Teeth – These harbor plaque, making them likely areas for cavities to form.
  • Receding Gums – Exposed tooth roots due to receding gums do not have the added protection of an outer layer of dental enamel. With the accumulation of dental plaque, these roots are susceptible to decay.

Protecting your teeth from decay:

At Dental Excellence Integrative Center, our skilled and experienced team is dedicated to helping you reduce your risk for tooth decay and diagnose cavities early in their onset. By following a consistent oral hygiene regimen, eating a nutritious diet low in sweets, scheduling routine dental cleanings and checkups, and seeking professional guidance from our office, you can protect the health of your smile.

By brushing and flossing your teeth each day as recommended by our team, you can help prevent the buildup of dental plaque, which is responsible for dental disease. Even with diligent care at home, some plaque may still hide in spots too difficult to reach with a toothbrush. For this reason, we advise professional teeth cleaning twice a year during checkups. In this way, our hygienist can remove any residual plaque you may have missed while brushing and guide you on better practices for maintaining optimal oral hygiene at home.

We also provide essential dietary guidance to help patients of all ages maintain optimal oral health. Children are particularly vulnerable to cavities, so we offer periodic fluoride treatments and place dental sealants to strengthen and shield their teeth. We use the latest generations of biocompatible tooth-colored materials to expertly restore the appearance and function of your tooth. Your new restoration will be durable, attractive, and blend seamlessly with your smile.

Treating tooth decay and restoring teeth:

While being proactive is the best way to prevent tooth decay, we're here to help if a cavity does develop. With early detection and care, our dentist will gently and precisely remove the diseased and damaged tooth structure and place a long-lasting filling to rebuild the integrity of your tooth. Your new restoration will be durable, attractive, and blend seamlessly with your smile. For deep tooth decay, we may recommend a full-coverage crown and additional treatment as indicated.

Don't let tooth decay ruin your beautiful smile. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you maintain optimal oral health and prevent dental cavities. Our dedicated staff is ready to assist you in any way they can!