Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is a common oral health condition characterized by the demineralization and damage of tooth structures, primarily the enamel, dentin, and sometimes the tooth's inner pulp. It is caused by the interaction between oral bacteria and sugars or carbohydrates from food and drinks and inadequate oral hygiene practices.
Common signs and symptoms of tooth decay include toothaches, tooth sensitivity, visible holes or pits in the tooth surface, discoloration or staining, and pain when eating or drinking. The good news is tooth decay is largely preventable with proper oral care and healthy habits. Visit Dentist in Tampa, FL - General and Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa for the best dental care possible.
Inadequate or inconsistent oral hygiene practices, such as infrequent brushing and flossing, can lead to plaque and bacteria buildup on the teeth. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, combines with sugars and starches from food to produce acids that attack tooth enamel.
Frequent consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages provides a fuel source for bacteria to produce acids. Sugary foods like candies, sodas, and sweet treats adhere to the tooth surface, allowing bacteria to thrive and produce acid. Acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, and vinegar-based dressings can erode tooth enamel.
Saliva plays a vital role in maintaining oral health by washing away food particles, neutralizing acids, and remineralizing tooth enamel. A dry mouth, resulting from certain medications, medical conditions, or mouth breathing, reduces saliva flow, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Brush your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily, especially before bedtime and after meals. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, circular motions to clean all tooth surfaces, including the back molars.
Flossing is crucial for removing plaque and food particles from between the teeth and the gum line. Gently slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it in a C-shape around each tooth, making sure to clean both sides.
Reduce consumption of sugary foods and beverages, including candies, sodas, juices, and snacks. Be mindful of acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, and vinegar-based dressings, as they can erode tooth enamel.
Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to monitor your oral health and detect any early signs of tooth decay. Our dentists can provide professional cleanings, apply dental sealants, and offer guidance on maintaining good oral hygiene.
By preventing tooth decay, you can maintain long-term oral health and enjoy a healthy smile. To learn more about tooth decay prevention, visit General and Cosmetic Dentistry of Tampa at 5010 Gunn Hwy, Tampa, FL 33624, or call (813) 960-5869, or visit General and Cosmetic Dentistry of South Tampa at 3112 West Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609, or call (813) 874-5869.