General Dentistry: Causes of Tooth Decay

General Dentistry: Causes of Tooth Decay from Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics in Sterling, VAIn general dentistry, practitioners offer preventative, restorative, and cosmetic services. General dentists help patients maintain good oral health by preventing disease and decay. For example, when individuals visit their general dentists' office for tooth decay, the dentist can diagnose, clean the decay, and fill the tooth. General dentists understand how oral health affects an individual's physical health.

How do cavities form?

According to Colgate, about 85% to 90% of adults have tooth decay. Fortunately, dentists can salvage decaying teeth. To prevent cavities, patients have to understand the causes of tooth decay.

Bacteria in the mouth

When patients eat sugars or starches, a clear film known as plaque sticks to the teeth. If not cleaned away quickly enough, the bacteria in the plaque begins to feed. The longer plaque remains on the teeth, the more likely it will develop into tartar.

Plaque has acids that remove minerals from a tooth's enamel. Holes begin to form in the enamel, and as the enamel continues to wear away, the acid reaches the next layer of the tooth. When left unchecked, the bacteria and acid eat away at the teeth until it reaches the pulp.

Sugary foods and drinks

Sugary foods and drinks cling to patients' teeth. Substances such as soda, honey, sugar, dried fruit, hard candy, cookies, and ice cream stick to the teeth for a long time. A patient's saliva may not wash the sticky substance away.

Patients who steadily sip on sugary drinks or snack slowly may have worse cavities. General dentistry knowledge shows that prolonged contact produces more acid to attack the teeth.

Flouride omittance from water

Fluoride is one of the essential minerals for a patient's dental health. Fluoride prevents decay and may reverse the early stages of damage. In fact, due to its benefits, many places have fluoride in the public water supply. However, not all cities have fluoride in the water and not everyone has access to public water. Those who live with well water may not have access to fluoride.

A parched mouth

Saliva helps prevent cavities because it washes away food from the teeth. Additionally, the substances found in a patient's saliva may counteract the acid. Unfortunately, there are many reasons a patient may have a dry mouth. One of the most common causes of dry mouth is medication.

Chronic heartburn

Gastroesophageal reflux disease causes stomach acid to back up into a patient's mouth. The acid wears away at the enamel of the teeth. When a patient's dentin becomes exposed, the tooth becomes more vulnerable to damage and decay.

A poor brushing routine

Some patients do not have a reliable oral hygiene routine. Individuals should brush their teeth shortly after eating and drinking. Consistent brushing can prevent plaque from forming.

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Patients who have regular appointments with their dentist tend to have less damage and disease. General dentistry addresses prevention and restoration for patients who have tooth decay.

Request an appointment or call Brighter Smile Family Dentistry & Orthodontics at 703-994-4044 for an appointment in our Sterling office.

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