How Teeth Decay
Causes of tooth decay
The bacteria in plaque survive by digesting the foods you eat, specifically the ones that are broken down into simple sugars. These include candy and sweets, as well as other high-carbohydrate foods like pasta, bread, cereals, milk, dried fruits, juices, and sweetened drinks.
When the plaque bacteria digest these sugars, a chemical reaction occurs, and the bacteria produce acid.
The process of decay
In the best circumstances, saliva balances the effects of the acid. It helps wash away bacteria, neutralizes the acids, and replaces the minerals that were lost to acid attack. However, if you eat too many sugary or starchy foods or if you eat too often, your saliva can’t keep up with the bacteria. These conditions allow the bacteria to reproduce wildly and develop even thicker accumulations of plaque.
The accumulations of plaque keep saliva away from the tooth surface, and eventually the acids create a hole in the enamel layer of your tooth. This hole is called a cavity. Areas in the mouth that trap plaque are especially at risk for decay. These include the grooves in the biting surfaces of teeth, in between teeth, along the gumline, and on any exposed tooth roots.
How to avoid decay
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Dr. J. Denton Hardie is a compassionate and gentle dentist practicing in the Albany, Georgia area. Dr. Hardie believes a nice smile brightens up your entire face, shows confidence, and increases self-esteem. He takes pride in the fact that many patients tell him their treatments were painless, which is the result of a calm, skilled, and caring hand. Specializing in a variety of dental care options, Dr. Hardie invites you to find out a bit more about his background and his practice.
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