Chewing gum is a habit that people either enjoy or they do not. Occasionally, some non-gum chewers may chew a piece of gum if they fear that they have bad breath. Americans have been chewing gum for over 100 years out of habit, as a breath freshener, and as a means to break the habit of smoking. Yet, there is also an added benefit to chewing gum that many people find surprising: chewing gum can help prevent the development of cavities from occurring inside the mouth.
While it may sound like something out of a horror movie, there are millions of bacteria taking up residence inside your mouth every single day. These bacteria congregate around tiny particles that are left behind after eating and drinking, and they begin to work to break them down. As they go to work, they begin producing acids to help them work faster. Acids are notorious for eating their way through whatever is in their path – this being your tooth enamel inside your mouth. It is important to note that oral bacteria are most attracted to sugar particles that are left behind in the mouth. They will congregate in huge numbers, creating pools of acids that quickly eat through the teeth and cause holes – otherwise known as cavities. (more…)
Cavity prevention is entirely up to you. Before you take offense at that, let us take the time to learn about cavities. First of all, cavities are the most prevalent dental issue in the entire world – so if you have had a cavity, you are not alone! Secondly, cavities can cause great harm inside your mouth, so preventing them is key. Lastly, understanding cavity prevention is the best way to keep your mouth health and to prevent cavities from forming.
Plaque is the cause of cavities. If you have ever run your tongue over your teeth late in the day and felt a sticky film on your teeth, then you have had plaque in your mouth. In fact, everyone develops plaque in the mouth on a daily basis. Plaque is made up of millions of bacteria that thrive off of the sugars that are found in the foods and beverages that you consume. As these bacteria congregate to break down these left behind sugars, they begin to produce acid. While this acid is good for breaking down the sugars, it is extremely destructive to your teeth. This acid is what begins to demineralize the tooth enamel, eating its way through your tooth until a hole (or cavity) has been formed. Once a cavity is formed, there is no way for the tooth to repair itself. Intervention from your dentist is essential in order to treat the cavity, fill it, and keep it from spreading to the rest of your tooth.
Daily brushing AND flossing are not options! Brushing your teeth helps to loosen the plaque from the outer surfaces of your teeth so that they are more easily brushed away. However, it is not brushing that is the most beneficial to your mouth – it is flossing! Floss is the only tool designed to reach and clean the tight spaces between your teeth to remove plaque that is trapped there on a daily basis. In fact, if you had to choose between brushing and flossing your teeth, your dentist would recommend that you choose flossing. However, we definitely suggest keeping up with both oral habits! Both brushing and flossing help fight against the continuous assault that plaque puts on your teeth day in and day out.
Siena Dental is here in Hendersonville, NV, to help you achieve optimal oral health. Cavity prevention is one of the absolute best things you can do for the health of your entire mouth, and we are here to partner with you. Call today to schedule an appointment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Dave Mahon, Siena Dental
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Cavity prevention starts at home. Regular care of the teeth coupled with a healthy diet are essential in warding off decay of your pearly whites. Cavities result from tooth decay that is inflicted by bacteria attacking the enamel of the teeth. Even those who are prone to developing cavities can find hope in knowing that the issue of dental cavities is largely preventable. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Bacteria naturally live within every mouth. They are essential for breaking down food particles that are left behind in the teeth after eating. When you eat foods that are high in sugar content and do not clean the teeth shortly after, these bacteria congregate on the teeth and thrive in this sugar-laden environment. As the bacteria feed on the sugars left in the mouth, they produce damaging acids. When these acids combine with the bacteria, they form the sticky film on the teeth known as plaque. Once plaque forms, the acids begin their destructive work creating tiny holes in the tooth enamel. Once these tiny holes are created, acids and bacteria are able to seep inside the teeth and attack the inner structures. At this point, the tooth has formed what is known as a dental cavity, and if it is not treated the decay will cause the tooth to be beyond repair.
But remember, cavity prevention starts at home, and it is something that you can control. Consistency in your oral care goes a long way toward helping your teeth to avoid cavities. This includes brushing the teeth at least twice a day and flossing the teeth at least once a day. It is important that you do not skip either of these important steps. While brushing the teeth helps to remove plaque that forms on the outer surfaces of the teeth, only floss can reach the tight spaces between the teeth and remove plaque that is hidden there. It is also recommended that you brush your teeth following a meal. However, if this is not doable for you, simply rinsing the mouth with water and spitting out the water can help to rid the mouth of food particles and prevent excess bacteria from invading the mouth. It is also important to avoid frequent snacking and drinks other than water to prevent your teeth from constant assault from bacteria and acids.
At Siena Dental, we are committed to cavity prevention. We are here to educate patients on proper oral health care so that they can take the necessary steps to promote healthy teeth. Contact our dental practice today to schedule an appointment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Dave Mahon, Siena Dental
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Teeth have different functions that they provide to all of us. They allow us to speak properly, they give us a distinctive smile, and they also allow us the ability to eat and chew foods. The front teeth are used for cutting foods with their sharp, thin edges. The canines (aka “eye teeth”) are used for holding or grasping foods. These stated teeth also promote the correct articulation and pronunciation in proper speech. The back teeth consist of the premolars and molars, allowing us to chew and crush foods so that they are easy to swallow and digest. These back teeth are rough, jagged, and made up of many grooves and pits on their top surfaces. While this design is necessary for eating, it contributes to the difficulty in keeping them clean.
As food is chewed and broken down by the premolars and molars, food particles often become trapped in the deep ridges. Natural acids occur in the mouth any time we eat or drink anything other than water. While these acids occur naturally and are beneficial to the mouth, they can also cause severe damage. Food particles that are trapped in the back teeth attract a large amount of acids and bacteria. The acids and bacteria are there to help break down the food, however, because they congregate in such large quantities, they often end up destroying the teeth during the process of breaking down food particles.