Tooth decay can be referred to in a variety of terms; many patients call it cavities, dental professionals often use the term caries, tooth decay is the damage that occurs to a tooth from the acids made by bacteria that thrives in food debris and plaque. At Nicholas Dose, DMD - Family Dental Care we take the time to educate our patients on the importance of removing decay-causing bacteria through daily oral hygiene. We also demonstrate brushing and flossing techniques and point out trouble spots, for patients who have higher levels of decay we can place sealants to serve as a barrier. Gaining the information, tools, and preventive steps can decrease your incidence of decay, and help you have healthier teeth longer.
The Decay of Teeth
Tooth decay begins with bacteria. Our mouths are constantly exposed large amounts of bacteria; it’s in the food we eat and the air we breathe. As we eat food, our body naturally creates a material known as plaque. Plaque is a blend of food, saliva, and bacteria. Plaque gathers and accumulates in your mouth, and finally resting between your teeth and along the gum line at the base of your teeth. Bacteria thrives in plaque, it happily feeds on the sugars that are so often found in much of our food, and as the bacteria feed, it emits an acid that decays our teeth. If a patient brushes their teeth at least twice a day, they are more likely to remove the plaque while it is still soft. Plaque that remains can then dry and become hard, this is known as tartar.
Tartar is calcified plaque. It is difficult to remove through brushing and the cause of tooth decay. As the tooth decays, there are varying restorations that we can perform depending on the severity of the decay.
Protecting your teeth from decay is important, there are steps you can take to help. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing before you retire each night, and using an antibacterial mouthwash daily, can make a significant difference in the health of your teeth.
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Nicholas Dose, DMD
601 1st Street Suite A
Lake Oswego, OR 97034-2370