Jun 03, 2018

Growing up, your parents probably made sure you spent enough time brushing your teeth. They worked with you when you picked up a toothbrush for the first time. Now that you’re on your own, it’s essential that you keep your oral care regimen in good shape. Sometimes when you don’t have someone to micromanage your brushing habits, cavities can be easier to develop.

To best protect yourself from cavities, your dentist in Sarasota is informing patients on how they develop as well as how to stop them ahead of time.

How a cavity forms

You may know to reduce your sugar intake if you want to prevent cavities, but that doesn’t mean reducing all of the obvious sugar-filled foods will prevent all cavities. Oral bacteria consumes sugars as well as carbohydrates, which includes far more than the simple chocolate bar or cotton candy. As you chew food, it breaks down into simple sugars for bacteria to consume, which produce acids as a by-product.

These acids slowly dissolve your tooth enamel over time, resulting in the early stages of tooth decay. Once enough calcium and phosphate crystals break down and acids break through the enamel, a cavity is formed. This hole is considered permanent and can only be fixed with either a dental filling or crown.

Types of decay to watch out for

It’s important to note that tooth decay can happen any time teeth are present in the mouth. This includes baby teeth, regardless of the child’s age. For example, infants are highly prone to a condition known as baby-bottle tooth decay. This occurs when a baby is constantly exposing its mouth to milk, juice, or other beverages typically found in baby bottles. The longer they’re exposed to these liquids, the higher their chances are of developing decay.

Older adults are also at higher risk of decay. This is because older patients are more likely to have receding gums which expose the tooth roots. If bacteria reaches this area, root decay can form and damage the most vulnerable areas responsible for holding teeth in place.

How to prevent cavities and decay

While it’s impossible to remove all bacteria from your mouth (not that you’d want to anyway) there are ways to control the amount of acids and acid-producing bacteria in the mouth at a given time. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush and floss daily and visit your Sarasota dentist every six months.

When brushing, make sure to:

  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste
  • Brush for at least two minutes
  • Brush twice a day
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months

When flossing, make sure to:

  • Pull out enough floss to wrap around your fingers
  • Not snap the floss while removing from between teeth
  • Do it once a day, ideally before bed

When you visit your dentist in Sarasota, you’ll be able to confirm if your oral care is sufficient and get a professional cleaning that reaches all the areas you can’t get at home. Schedule an appointment today to get started!

About the author

Dr. Shanaka L. Weerasooriya says that 99 percent of your dental care occurs at home, so it’s incredibly important that you take the time to manage it in between visits. He’s more than happy to recommend products, tips, and answer questions you may have about oral care or cavities. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website.