Cavity prevention is at the forefront of oral health. This is because cavities are among the most common ailments that befall children, especially in this day and age, when processed sweets are available around every corner. However, there’s a lot more that can go into preventing cavities.
What is a Cavity?
In dentistry and oral health, a cavity, or dental caries, refers to tooth breakdown in general. We are most familiar with cavities as a gap or hole in the tooth. The primary cause of cavities is bacteria that breakdown the hard tissues that make up teeth. The bacteria feed off the high amounts of processed sugar that pass through the mouth, and work away at the minerals making up tooth enamel. Normally, saliva is able to replenish the tooth’s mineral supply, but when the rate of breakdown becomes greater than the rate of replenishment, a cavity is the result.
Okay, but how do I get rid of the Bacteria?
It’s not that easy. Your mouth is constantly packed full of bacteria of all different types, and this is actually a good thing! In fact, the number of bacteria cells in your body far outnumber the number of human cells. Without bacteria in our guts, we would have a much harder time doing essential tasks such as digesting food. Similarly, much of the bacteria in our mouth is actually helpful and is considered to be a healthy part of oral hygiene. However, some types of the bacteria are harmful, and these are what we focus on when it comes to talking about cavities.
What can I do then?
There are lots of ways to help keep the population of “bad” bacteria down while promoting healthy bacteria. Brushing to get rid of plaque is the best and most important method, along with flossing and rinsing using mouthwash. Keeping a diet that contains low amount of highly refined carbohydrates and sugar is also a good idea, as the “bad” bacteria primarily feed off these types of foods. Look instead to foods such as leafy green vegetables and those that are high in calcium. Your visit to the dentist should also include a fluoride rinse, which is a great way to replenish tooth mineral balance.
Cavities affect so many Canadians that you might consider them to be almost unavoidable. This is simply not true! Proper care and diet can do wonders in preventing cavities. Feel free to ask your Calgary dentist if you have any further questions or concerns. Bow Trail Dental is always happy to see new clients! Call us today at (403) 240-1257.