Dental cavities are the most common form of oral disease known to man, and the process of getting cavities is called tooth decay.
Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel — the hard, outer layer of your teeth. This issue can affect children, teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, is constantly forming on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods or beverages containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth, and over time the enamel can break down.
The types of cavities formed can be broken down into two major groups:
Pit and fissure cavities. These are found most often on the chewing surfaces of the back (molar and premolar) teeth, and the back of the front (anterior) teeth. Your teeth are composed of several sections of enamel, and where these sections meet, pits and grooves can trap plaque, causing decay.
Smooth surface cavities. These are found most often along the gumline or where two teeth touch (interproximal or the space between teeth), if plaque forms in those areas.
Oral Hygiene Tools and Preventive Products
There are many dental health aids available that can help you avoid dental cavities. A quality toothbrush that has the proper angulation and bristles to help remove plaque is essential. There are inexpensive power brushes available to help remove plaque more effectively. Your dental hygienist or dentist can help you select the best toothbrush for plaque removal.
The use of an ADA-approved toothpaste containing fluoride is also a great way to prevent dental cavities, as the fluoride in the toothpaste provides a protective coating that neutralizes the acid attack caused by plaque. Once again, it’s best to ask your dental hygienist or dentist for a professional recommendation.
Fluoride varnish is another oral health aide available at your dentist’s office. During your routine checkup, your dental hygienist can apply a thin coat of fluoride varnish to your teeth after the cleaning portion of your visit is completed. This varnish contains a concentrated form of fluoride, which when left on for an hour is incorporated into the surface of your teeth, making the enamel and exposed root surfaces more resistant to the acid attack from plaque. Fluoride varnish also reduces your teeth’s sensitivity to heat and cold, and it can help reverse cavities that are just forming by strengthening the layer of enamel and remineralizing the surface.
Thanks to these medical advancements, dental cavities have dramatically been reduced in children and adults. It is not uncommon to see patients to go through their lives without ever having a dental cavity.
One of the most important factors in reducing cavities is regular dental cleanings and checkups. With consistent dental visits, good oral hygiene habits and a healthy diet, you may be able to go your entire life without encountering the most common oral disease ever faced by man.
If you are looking for a Paducah, KY area dentist, we hope you will consider Johnson Family Dental. Dr. Ben Johnson and his staff are ready to help your entire family with your entire family’s dental health. We are conveniently located at 2913 Lone Oak Rd, Paducah, KY 42003. For more information or to schedule an appointment you can call us at (270) 554-2432 or CLICK HERE to contact us.