Cavities are the destruction of the tooth by bacteria in dental plaque. They can occur at any age.
- Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria constantly forming on your teeth.
- Plaque bacteria turn sugar into acids that dissolve tooth enamel.
- The plaque layer holds the acid in contact with the tooth, and prevents saliva from washing the acid away.
- Over time the acid can eat a hole where the plaque is sitting.
Cavities are most likely to occur where this plaque sits undisturbed due to lack of cleaning or inaccessibility. Exposed root surfaces are also more prone due to decay as they have less calcium to start with and plaque adheres more readily.
High risk areas for decay include the area between teeth, root surfaces and any spots that routinely trap food. Cavities are also common around the edges of older fillings. When fillings age, the seal between the filling and tooth can fail, allowing bacteria to colonise the area. This is called "recurrent caries" and is the main reason that an older filling may need to be replaced.
How to Prevent Cavities:
- Brush and clean between the teeth at least two times a day. Brushing should last at least two minutes.
- Flouride toothpaste can reduce the susceptibility of tooth mineral to decay.
- Reduce the duration the teeth are exposed to sugars and food acids.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.
One way to find where plaque is hanging around is to use disclosing tablets. These tablets use a safe food dye to stain any plaque that may be hanging around. This is very valuble for children, who may not fully understand why they are brushing. One thing they certainly understand is to get all that color off! We sell our oral health products at supplier cost. Swing by, grab some tabs and see what you've been missing.
Chew on the tablet until dissolved, swish for 30 seconds and spit out. Thats it!
- Spit into a cup, porcelain or steel sink, the tabs may stain resin sinks
- Rinse the basin right away to prevent staining
- Plaque will be stained red. If you have the purple disclosing tabs- plaque older than a day is blue, younger plaque is red.
- Can be used before brushing to show where brushing needs to be, or after brushing to show what has been missed
Hopefully this article has been helpful for you, if you have any questions be sure to ask Amy, Cath or Myself.