Take These Steps to Help Prevent Tooth Decay
Since chewing and speaking are both primary functions of our daily lives, it’s essential for children and adults to protect their teeth. At Premier Periodontics, our team of experienced periodontists works with patients throughout Bellevue, WA, providing diagnostic and treatment services to help prevent tooth decay and maximize their oral health. Our periodontal staff is also available in the following Washington state locations: Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Olympia, and Redmond.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the breakdown or destruction of enamel, which is located on the outer layer of your teeth. Enamel is primarily made of calcium phosphate and creates a hard, crystalline structure that protects the teeth from damage. However, when exposed to harmful acids, the enamel can break apart, and cavities start to form. At Premier Periodontics, our team works diligently to identify signs of tooth decay early during routine dental exams to help prevent unnecessary damage.
Causes of tooth decay
Throughout the day, your teeth constantly contain a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When you eat foods with sugars, the bacteria in the plaque can produce acids that attack the enamel. If the sugars aren’t removed from the teeth, or if you are constantly exposing your teeth to sugar or other acidic chemicals, the enamel breaks down, and the teeth begin to rot.
Tooth decay in children
Tooth decay in children is common because of their regular exposure to sugary foods and drinks. Additionally, children are still learning the steps to properly care for their teeth and practice regular dental hygiene habits.
Tooth decay in adults
As adults age, their chances for tooth decay steadily rise. When the gums recede away from the teeth, this exposes the underlying tooth roots to plaque. Since tooth roots are covered with a softer mineral than enamel, called cementum, the risk for breakdown increases and compromises their overall oral health. Additionally, decay can form around old or dislodged cavity fillings, further breaking down the teeth.
How is tooth decay diagnosed?
The early stages of tooth decay are often difficult to identify with just the naked eye. If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s teeth, one of our team members can conduct a routine cleaning and dental check-up in Bellevue, WA to thoroughly inspect the teeth for decay. In some cases, digital x-rays are performed to inspect hidden concerns.
Can tooth decay be reversed?
In the early stages, tooth decay can sometimes be reversed with specific treatment plans and lifestyle changes. However, once the enamel is destroyed, the damage can’t be reversed.
Take these steps to help prevent tooth decay
To help prevent tooth decay and maintain a healthy smile for years to come, consider using or teaching your family the following tips:
Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride-based toothpaste
Regularly use an ADA-approved mouthwash
Protect your teeth with a mouth guard during sports or physical activity
Eat nutritious foods
Limit sugary foods and drinks
Attend regularly dental cleanings and checkups
Learn more about tooth decay prevention
Contact us at Premier Periodontics at one of our Washington state locations in Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Olympia, or Redmond. Our experienced team of periodontists will work with you to help meet your oral health needs and provide preventive care tips to help you maintain optimal oral health.