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  • Writer's pictureaddmd0

Do you want to keep your teeth? Let's start with a primer about tooth decay and how to avoid it!

Your teeth are covered by a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Have you ever wondered what happens when plaque is left on your teeth? The bacteria in the plaque use sugar in your foods and drinks to feast and the result of this process is an acid. This acid attacks your tooth enamel. Over time your tooth enamel can start to break down under the never ending assault of acids produced by these bacteria. With the enamel barrier compromised, the underlying structure of the tooth starts to decay and you have a cavity. Once you have a cavity the only option is a repair in the form of a filling.

Untreated tooth decay can lead to pain. The tooth can become infected and that infection can spread to other parts of your mouth. You can lose the affected tooth, nearby teeth, and eventually even the bone in your jaw. Untreated tooth decay can lead to an abscess which can be quite painful.

Tooth decay can affect the outer hard layer of your teeth, the enamel, the middle layer called the dentin, and the core of your tooth called the pulp chamber where all of the nerves and blood vessels reside. The more of these layers that are affected, the worse the damage.

All of this is to say BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE DAILY FOR 2 MINUTES to avoid the buildup of plaque on your teeth. Floss between your teeth.

Schedule routine cleanings and exams every 6 months with your dentist. These two steps are ESSENTIAL to continued oral health.

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