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You Can Prevent Cavities

Cavities: Many of us remember sweating through the poking and prodding of the dentist. We prayed that he or she would not find cavities which would require the use of the dreaded dental drill. Armed with the right knowledge and proper home dental care you can now rest at ease and fear cavities no more.

What Causes Cavities ?

When it comes to cavities, bacteria are public enemy number #1. Our mouths, teeth and toothbrushes are full of bacteria which settle on our teeth in plaque, a goo of proteins, saliva, and food debris. Violight can remove the bacteria from our toothbrushes but our teeth are a problem. Here bacteria devour food particles left on our teeth. Ungrateful guests, these bacteria produce acid as a by-product of their feasting. It is this acid which eats into the tooth enamel creating cavities.

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The teeth have a moderate ability to repair tooth enamel by remineralizing the affected enamel with minerals from saliva. Unfortunately, the rate of destruction by acid exceeds this rate of repair.

Normally, acids eating into tooth enamel is not painful. Left untreated, however, acid eats a hole through the enamel into the underlying dentin and pulp layers of the tooth. This does cause pain and left untreated the cavity will eventually destroy dentin, pulp and tooth nerve. 

What Can You Do To Reduce Your Chances of Getting Cavities?

Good oral hygiene significantly reduce your risk of getting cavities. Brushing and the use of a water pick can help reduce your chance of cavities. The Hydrabrush helps you do both at the same time! Brushing removes bacteria as well as the food debris bacteria feed on. When brushing it is crucial to brush all tooth surfaces which takes at least 2-3 minutes. Unfortunately, most people only brush for less than 45 missing a large percentage of their tooth surfaces.

Flossing everyday is crucial to preventing cavities. Flossing reaches the nearly 35 percent of your mouth that your toothbrush can not reach. In these areas, bacteria live happily pouring out cavity causing acid. Remember brushing without flossing is like taking a shower and only washing two thirds of your body. The remaining third still remains dirty !

In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, there are other things you can do to reduce your risk of getting cavities:

To Prevent Cavities, Watch What You Eat

Bacteria are particularly fond of foods containing sugars and carbohydrates. These foods provide bacteria with energy to grow, reproduce, and create enamel eating acid. A special favorite of bacteria are foods which tend to stick to teeth like peanut butter, caramel, and honey. When stuck to teeth these foods are not cleared by chewing and swallowing. Consequently they provide bacteria with a long lasting food source from which to make acid.

When you eat meals or snacks containing large amounts sugars, carbohydrates, or "sticky" foods which tend to get stuck to teeth, make sure to follow the meal with water to help wash off food particles remaining on teeth. If possible, brush your teeth immediately after the meal.

To Prevent Cavities, Watch the Timing of Snacks

The timing of your snacks is crucial to preventing cavities. The acid produced by bacteria is neutralized by saliva and cleared from the mouth. After the acid is cleared minerals in saliva crystallize on the enamel to begin to repair areas damaged by the acid.

Larger intervals between meals provide more opportunity for acid to be neutralized and more time for the acid damage to be repaired. Frequent snacks, however, provide for a constant acid attack and provide less time for tooth repair.

This explains why snacks eaten with a meal are better for teeth than snacks eaten between meals. A candy bar eaten with a meal, for example, is less likely to contribute to cavity formation than a candy bar eaten as a snack between meals.

This also explains why fewer larger sized meals are better for teeth than more frequent smaller sized meals. Likewise, sipping on sugar containing liquids through out the day is much more detrimental than drinking sugar containing liquids with a meal.

Use Fluoride to Prevent Cavities

Fluoride is a wonder of modern dentistry. Fluoride incorporates itself into tooth enamel strengthening the enamel and making it more resistant to acid attacks. Most adults receive adequate amounts of fluoride in their toothpastes. Children often receive adequate amounts in their drinking water. If your water is not fluoridated you may want to consult your pediatrician to see about providing fluoride supplements for your child.

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Visit Your Dentist On a Regular Basis

Dental problems often remain silent creating pain only after significant damage has occurred. Dentists can identify many of these potentially devastating problems before they cause major damage.

Additionally, dentists can detect places in your mouth that you miss when brushing. These areas are prime targets for cavity formation. In areas where cavities are just beginning to form, dentists can use high concentration fluoride treatments to prevent the need for the dental drills and fillings.

With proper oral hygiene and attention to what we eat and when we eat, cavities can be virtually eliminated.