Failure to prevent decay, infection, and cavities can lead to periodontal disease and a need for extensive dental restorations. Sedation dentistry can be helpful in repairing dental problems, but it is always best to prevent problems from occurring. Cavities are the result of a combination of plaque, tartar, and decay.
What Is Plaque?
Proteins and bacteria that naturally occur in the mouth bond together on the teeth to create a biofilm commonly known as plaque. Approximately 25,000 species of microorganisms and bacteria reside in the mouth. An estimated 1,000 of these can be found in dental plaque. Bacteria in plaque release acids that can begin to demineralize teeth. Plaque that is allowed to build up eventually evolves into tartar.
What Is Tartar?
Plaque that is not removed from the teeth through regular brushing and flossing will harden to form tartar, or dental calculus. This process can occur in as little as 26 hours. Tartar mineralizes into your teeth, making it extremely difficult to remove without the aid of a dental professional. Tartar can prevent you from adequately brushing your teeth and encourage periodontal disease.
How Does Tartar Lead to Decay?
According to estimates from the CDC, 95% of Americans over 40 have dental decay to some degree. Because tartar is so difficult to remove and is home to so many bacteria, the constant release of acids weakens and eventually breaks down the tooth’s natural enamel. The longer the problem goes unaddressed, the more damage is caused, and problems such as cavities and gum tissue damage can occur.
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
The easiest way to prevent cavities and gum disease is to remove plaque before it has a chance to solidify into tartar. Brush, floss, and rinse properly at least twice per day and visit your dentist regularly.
For more information about cavities and how to prevent them, schedule an appointment with Belmont Dental Group. Call (617) 484-2431 to learn more about our preventative, restorative and sedation dentistry services.