Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Oral Hygiene 101: Understanding And Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay or dental caries is the second most common problem for kids and adults alike. Although not life threatening, understanding this common problem can help protect your teeth and prevent you from experiencing pain when eating or drinking. Regular dental maintenance can also prevent the teeth from discoloring and the individual from experiencing toothaches as well.


Tooth decay happens when the bacteria from the food that we have eaten turns into acid and becomes plaque. It later turns into tartar when not removed and sticks to the person's teeth. The acid destroys the outer layer called the enamel causing it to become brittle and creating a hole in the teeth resulting to cavities. When the enamel completely erodes, the cavities will then attack the dentine which is the softer area inside the teeth. If the person fails to have any treatment, the bacteria will eat up the dentine exposing the pulp area of the tooth which contains the nerves and blood vessels and cause dental abscess or bacterial infection in the tooth area and this can affect the gums as well.

Risk Factors

Tooth decay is preventable. However, most of us fail to do so due to busy schedules or unhealthy diets or lifestyles. One risk of tooth decay is the food that we eat specifically those carbohydrates that are rich in sugar or starch. Another factor is unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking which hinders the body's ability to produce saliva and poor oral hygiene or infrequently brushing one's teeth after a meal. People who have dry mouth also are at risk of developing tooth decay as the saliva in the mouth acts as a clean-up for the teeth.


To reduce the risk of developing tooth decay, it is best to maintain a regular oral hygiene habit. Plaques tend to build up twenty minutes after one finishes eating and as such it is best to brush one's teeth during this time interval. Regular flossing removes food stuck in between teeth and prevents bacteria from developing in the area. If you like to eat sweet and starchy food, it is best to drink some water to flush away the sticky materials especially if you are dining out. For those who are under medication or experience dry mouth, sipping water regularly can prevent the mouth from drying up. Regularly visiting your dental health provider to check on your teeth's health is also imperative especially if you feel pain or toothache. This would treat the problem area and prevent it from infecting other healthy teeth.


If the tooth problem already progresses into cavities, your dental health provider can provide you several solutions such as fillings, crowns or root canals. A filing replaces the decayed part of the teeth and materials such as porcelains, gold or resin are used. A crown on the other hand fits over the weaker tooth and protects it from further damage. Root canal is the last resort and involves the removal of the nerves, roots and decayed portion of the teeth. After treatment, the tooth is filled in and crowned to prevent further damage to the area.

7 Day Dental in Orange County, CA provides dental care 7 days a week, including weekends, holidays and after hours. For more information, please visit us at
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