Everything you (hopefully) learned as a child about preventing cavities still holds true. However, by the time they become adults, many people forget some of those lessons, like not snacking too often, and cavities remain the most common dental health issue. The reason they’re worrisome is because, when left untreated, a cavity (or hole) can grow large enough to consume your entire tooth. By treating tooth decay, you can stop it from destroying your tooth, but the structure you do lose won’t grow back. Therefore, preventing them from occurring in the first place is the best way to protect your teeth from infectious cavities.
How a Tooth Defends Itself
Your teeth aren’t completely defenseless against tooth decay. In fact, the enamel (outer layer) that’s designed to protect them is the most resilient substance in your body. Underneath enamel lies the bulk of your tooth, known as dentin, which is slightly sensitive and less resilient. Made mostly of mineral crystals, enamel shields dentin from infectious bacteria, and is the first line of defense against decay.
How Bacteria Attack
Before tooth decay occurs, the bacteria in your mouth attack tooth enamel by producing acids from sugars and carbs. Once enamel is weak enough, bacteria can slip past it and infect the dentin, causing a hole in the structure commonly referred to as a cavity. Severe tooth infection can reach the tooth’s center pulp chamber and infect the nerves and blood vessels housed there, and root canal therapy may be the best option for restoring the tooth.
What to Do When a Cavity Strikes
For the most part, you can keep your enamel strong and resilient against bacteria by brushing and flossing the plaque off your teeth at least twice a day, and attending regular dental cleanings. If decay does strike, however, then we advise seeking treatment immediately. If caught early enough, your tooth may be restored with a minor, tooth-colored dental filling before the need for root canal therapy arises.
ABOUT YOUR RIVERSIDE DENTISTS:
With offices throughout Riverside Country, including Corona, Temecula, and Moreno Valley, Riverside Dental Group is happy to provide advanced general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services to patients of all ages. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, call our office today at (951) 689-5031.