Tag Archives: caries

Tooth Decay

Image result for dentistry imagesTooth Decay

 

Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay is not life threatening and is highly preventable.

What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake, and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.

How can cavities be prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by the saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow. However, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Fluoride, a natural substance that helps to remineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acids and helps to correct damage produced by the plaque bacteria. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and water sources to help fight cavities. Your dentist also may recommend that you use special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or dietary fluoride supplements. In addition, professional strength anti-cavity varnish or sealants may be recommended.

Who is at risk for cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in communities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. Also, those with a lot of fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay because the area around the restored portion of a tooth is a good breeding ground for bacteria. In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at the highest risk for cavities.

What can I do to help protect my teeth?

The best way to combat cavities is to follow three simple steps:

  • Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, sugary and starchy foods put your teeth at risk.
  • Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to clean areas between the teeth and in the fissures and pits on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside, on top of, and in between your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every few months. Only buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride.
  • See your Dr. Griffin at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect, a thorough dental examination is very important. If left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent loss of the tooth structure, root canal therapy, and even loss of the tooth.

In general, children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

If you suspect you may have tooth decay or if you have any questions, please call us here at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Compiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry)

 

More Than a Quarter of American Adults Have Untreated Tooth Decay

More Than a Quarter of American Adults Have Untreated Tooth Decay Untreated Tooth Decay

TIME (5/13, Sifferlin) reports that a new study from the NIH and CDC found that 91 percent of US adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have dental caries (cavities) in permanent teeth as of 2011-2012, and among 65-year-olds, 96 percent have tooth decay. TIME adds that more than a quarter of adults ages 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay, while “Hispanic and black adults had more untreated cavities compared with white and Asian adults ages 20 to 64,” with black adults at a rate of 42 percent. The study also found that “American adults ages 20 to 39 were twice as likely to have all their teeth, compared with adults ages 40 to 64.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tooth Decay

tooth-decayTooth decay, also known as caries or cavities, is an oral disease that affects many people. Unlike other diseases, however, caries is not life-threatening and is highly preventable, though it affects most people to some degree during their lifetime.

 

  • What causes tooth decay?
  • What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

  • How can cavities be prevented?

  • Who is at risk for cavities?

  • What can I do to help protect my teeth?

 

What causes tooth decay?

Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form plaque. The plaque interacts with deposits left on your teeth from sugary and starchy foods and produces acids. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or demineralizing enamel, which weakens the teeth and leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay is not life threatening and is highly preventable.

What types of foods may contribute to tooth decay?

Foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars), such as soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk, and cake, and even some fruits, vegetables, and juices, may contribute to tooth decay.

How can cavities be prevented?

The acids formed by plaque can be counteracted by the saliva in your mouth, which acts as a buffer and remineralizing agent. Dentists often recommend chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow. However, the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly. Fluoride, a natural substance that helps to remineralize the tooth structure, makes the tooth more resistant to the acids and helps to correct damage produced by the plaque bacteria. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and water sources to help fight cavities. Dr. Griffin may recommend that you use special high concentration fluoride gels, mouth rinses, or dietary fluoride supplements. In addition, professional strength anti-cavity varnish or sealants may be recommended.

Who is at risk for cavities?

Because we all carry bacteria in our mouths, everyone is at risk for cavities. Those with a diet high in carbohydrates and sugary foods and those who live in communities without fluoridated water are likely candidates for cavities. Also, those with a lot of fillings have a higher chance of developing tooth decay because the area around the restored portion of a tooth is a good breeding ground for bacteria.

What can I do to help protect my teeth?

The best way to combat cavities is to follow three simple steps:

  • Cut down on sweets and between-meal snacks. Remember, sugary and starchy foods put your teeth at risk.
  • Brush after every meal and floss daily. Cavities most often begin in hard-to clean areas between the teeth and in the fissures and pits on the biting surfaces of the teeth. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush inside, outside, on top of, and in between your teeth. Replace your toothbrush every few months. Only buy toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride.
  • See Dr. Griffin at least every six months for checkups and professional cleanings. Because cavities can be difficult to detect, a thorough dental examination is very important. If left untreated, cavities can lead to permanent loss of the tooth structure, root canal therapy, and even loss of the tooth.

 

In General, children and senior citizens are the two groups at highest risk for cavities.

If you any questions about tooth decay or would like to schedule your next appointment please call us here at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

 

(Information gathered from the Academy of General Dentistry)

 

Tackling Tooth Decay

Tackling Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, usually referred to as “cavities,” starts in the enamel, the outer protective layer of the tooth. In some people, especially older adults, the gums pull away from the tooth and expose the tooth root. Decay can occur here as well. The good news is that because of recent scientific advancements, tooth decay sometimes can be stopped.

HOW DOES TOOTH DECAY DEVELOP?

Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When you eat and drink, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that can cause the enamel or root surface to break down. Plaque collects around the gumline and on the chewing surfaces of your molars in the back of your mouth, putting these areas at higher risk of developing decay. You might not notice any signs or symptoms of early decay, but more advanced tooth decay can have several symptoms:

  • food trapped frequently between teeth;
  • discomfort or pain in or around your mouth;
  • difficulty biting down on certain foods;
  • sensitivity to hot, cold or even sweet foods;
  • bad breath;
  • white, then later dark, spots on your teeth.

TREATMENT

Advanced tooth decay can be painful and can result in the loss of your tooth. Without treatment, bacteria can travel through the tooth and develop into an abscess—a severe infection—under the gums. This infection can spread to other parts of the body with serious, and in rare cases fatal, consequences.

Advances in science have made it possible for dentists to teach you how to prevent and even repair tooth decay in the early stages. Called remineralization, this approach includes use of rinses, pastes, coatings or filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium or phosphates. These substances are the building blocks of the tooth’s hard enamel, and exposure to them can help the tooth repair itself. Like any treatment, remineralization is not always successful. Patients who have the most success follow their dentist’s recommendations closely regarding changes in home care.

For more advanced disease, Dr. Griffin may need to remove the decay and restore the tooth. If the affected area is small, he can place a filling in the tooth. When decay damages the tooth’s structure more extensively, Dr. Griffin may need to place a crown over the remaining tooth. In other severe cases, not enough healthy tooth is left, and the tooth must be removed.

PREVENTING TOOTH DECAY

Good dental hygiene is the first step in preventing tooth decay. Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and clean between your teeth once a day with floss or an interdental cleaner. Whenever possible, drink water that contains fluoride as a way to strengthen your enamel. Limit snacking and sipping on drinks high in sugar or acids. Consider having Dr. Griffin place sealants, a protective coating, on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These will cover the pits and grooves there and help eliminate places for bacteria to collect.

More and more products are becoming available to help treat and prevent tooth decay. Why wait for a cavity to develop? Visit Dr. Griffin regularly for professional cleanings and a thorough examination, as well as to stay on top of these new techniques to improve your oral health.

 

If you have any questions about how to prevent tooth decay everyone here at Paul Griffin, DDS is happy to help!  You can call us at 972-242-2155 or simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.

(Information gathered from the American Dental Association )