Cavities are preventable and caused by certain types of bacteria (germs) that live in your mouth. Bacteria stick to the film on your teeth called plaque. The bacteria feed on what you eat, especially sugars (including fruit sugars) and cooked starch (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.). About 5 minutes after you eat, or drink, the bacteria begin making acid as they digest your food. This acid can break down the tooth’s outer surface and dissolve valuable minerals that protect your teeth. The result is cavities.
You are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities. These bacteria are usually transferred to you at a young age by your primary care taker, most often your mother. To reduce the chances of passing the bacteria to your children, avoid sharing utensils, straws or other items that may have saliva on them.
How to Prevent Decay
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between teeth daily with floss
- Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacking
- Visit your CDA member dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams
- Ask your dentist about:
- dental sealants, a protective plastic coating that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts
- xylitol gum and mints
- fluoride treatments including varnish
For more information on dental decay prevention, please contact our dental office to speak to one of our qualified dentists.
Source: California Dental Association