According to a recent study by the World Health Organization 60 to 90 per cent of school-aged children and nearly 100 per cent of adults globally have dental cavities.
It’s a frightening statistic that in many cases could be avoided by good oral hygiene and regular access to a dentist.
So, in a bid to get to the bottom of how this statistic shapes up, let’s get down to the basics of how cavities are formed.
Cavities are the end result of a lengthy process that happens in stages, and the truth is the beginning is innocent enough.
It starts with the foods we eat and the residue they leave behind. Naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feeds on sugary food residue, producing acid. The acids then combines with saliva and food particles to create plaque – a sticky residue that coats the teeth.
The trouble with plaque
Unless removed, plaque continues to produce acid, which attacks the enamel of the teeth. It can also harden to create tartar making it harder to clean your teeth.
Once the enamel of a tooth has been compromised, cavities can start to form. The bacteria and plaque continue to work their way through tiny holes in the enamel to the dentin beneath, and finally they reach the pulp at the centre.
At this stage the pulp becomes irritated causing pain and sensitivity. The bone supporting the tooth may be impacted as well.
Meanwhile, plaque that isn’t removed can also irritate the gums causing gingivitis.
The best way to combat bacteria and plaque is through good dental hygiene and a vigilant cleaning routine.
- Brushing your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes, and ensuring you pay attention to the surface areas of all teeth.
- Flossing each day to remove the plaque between teeth – It’s important to note nearly half the surface area of your teeth lies between them, which is why flossing is so critical to dental health.
- Regular dentist checkups – Even the most diligent toothbrushing might see you miss a spot from time to time, which is where a regular dental checkup and thorough professional clean comes into play. As a general rule of thumb, everyone should see a dentist at least once a year.
For most people cavities are present long before you are aware of their existence, which is why a yearly visit to the dentist is critical.
Once cavities start to cause pain and sensitivity, a tooth has been greatly affected. If you can catch a cavity before it reaches this point, treatment is simpler and less invasive.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services, ranging from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.