The term “tooth decay” sounds so dark, it could be fiction. Sadly, it’s far from it. Tooth decay is very real, and an all-too-common side effect of ignoring your oral health.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the breakdown of your tooth enamel—a hard outer layer that protects your teeth from sugars, bacteria, and microscopic critters that would love nothing more than to set up camp in your mouth. But as tough as it is, that tooth enamel can be ruined. And when it is, there’s no more barrier from bacteria. And that’s when other oral health issues can arise.
If you don’t brush or floss your teeth daily, if you snack often (looking at you, grazers), or if you eat sugar-filled foods on a regular basis, your teeth are at a higher risk of tooth decay.
Why? Well, plaque is constantly forming on our teeth. But it’s sticky, so it allows sugar to latch on and attack your enamel. Fortunately, brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing twice a day keep the damage from those little attacks to a minimum.
Keep in mind, teeth with long-term cavity fillings can be especially prone to tooth decay. They inevitably weaken over time and leak around the edges, making them unreachable for even the most powerful toothbrush. So if you have fillings, make sure you’re getting them checked regularly and replaced when necessary (usually every 3-4 years).
Yikes… So how can I prevent tooth decay?
Not to worry. Thanks to fluoride toothpaste, electric toothbrushes, and different styles of flossing (string, pick, or water), tooth decay is easy to keep at bay. Just make sure you stay on top of your oral care regimen.
If your dentist sees an issue, it’s likely pretty easy to fix. But to see an issue, your dentist has to see you! We recommend going at least every six months. After all, they can’t fix anything if they don’t know what’s going on in there.
Make an appointment. Get a check up. Keep your smile healthy—it’ll be well worth it. Don’t have an MDA dentist? Find one that fits your smile’s needs at smilemichigan.com.