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What Does Tooth Decay Really Mean?

You already know about cavities and the importance of taking care of your teeth. You’ve probably also heard the term “tooth decay.” However, do you really know what it means for you and your mouth health? Understanding even the most basic of terms when it comes to your oral health is important, particularly if you want to have a meaningful exchange with your dentist. It can also help you to know what to look for should you suspect that you’re having a problem that your dentist may need to know about.

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay essentially means cavities. When you hear your dentist say, “I’m afraid you have a cavity,” what they’re really saying is that you have tooth decay. Your mouth naturally has bacteria that forms plaque on your teeth. The plaque interacts with the food you eat, causing acids that damage your enamel which weakens your teeth and leads to small openings, or cavities, to form. If not correctly handled, these cavities can grow over time causing bigger, and more serious problems.

What Kinds Of Foods Escalate Tooth Decay?

You’ve probably heard warnings from your parents and your dentist about the perils of indulging in too many sweets, and it turns out they were right. Carbohydrate-laden food, mainly starches and sugars, are the worst culprits when it comes to tooth decay. Sodas, candy, ice cream, candy bars, cakes and sugary juices all attack the enamel of your teeth, leading the way for tooth decay.

What Can I Do?

When it comes to dealing with tooth decay, it’s important to take on a more preventative stance than a curative one. Firstly, try to limit your intake of sweet and sugary foods. If you do have the occasional treat, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards to minimize impact on your tooth enamel. Brushing two times a day with a fluoride toothpaste is also an important measure. Try using a fluoride mouthwash before bedtime to help strengthen your teeth overnight, and don’t forget to floss. Food particles stuck between your teeth are a huge cause of tooth decay. Lastly, you should see your dentist at least every six months, and not just when you think there’s a problem. By being on the ball with your defensive measures, you can prevent expensive dental problems down the road.
Getting to know what tooth decay is, as well as what causes it, can put you on the right track to avoiding it. Be sure to take a defensive stance when it comes to tooth decay. The more proactive you are, the less likely you are to experience problems.