This message from Michelsen Dental in Orange CA is about tooth decay and bacteria.
Your mouth has a thriving community of bacteria. There are from 200-300 types. But relatively few cause tooth decay.
Bacteria that cause tooth decay are in the mutans streptococcus family. The bacteria mix with sugar. This mixture creates a powerful acid. The acid reduces the calcium in tooth enamel. When the bacteria remains on teeth, it generates a yellowish substance called plaque. Plaque is brutally effective at drilling into tooth enamel and causing cavities. Minerals in saliva and fluoride help enamel re-mineralize.
Special Caution for Parents
The tooth decay bacteria can spread through saliva. People in close contact with one another are at risk. Sharing spoons or kissing are two avenues. Mothers, fathers, siblings, and caregivers can the bacteria to babies. Young children whose teeth are forming are at a heightened risk of decay.
It’s important that parents protect their children from early tooth decay. Start teaching daily oral hygiene as soon as your child’s first tooth breaks through. Childhood decay is so prevalent that some parents believe it’s just part of growing up. But it doesn’t have to be!
The Role of Fluoride in Cavity Prevention
If the teeth are continually assaulted with food and liquids (especially acidic or sugary types), the enamel never has a chance to remineralize. The combination forms the dangerous acid. Acid and plaque weakens the enamel and may cause a white spot, a sign of mineral loss and the beginning of a cavity.
At this point, you can reverse the mineral loss. Fluoride does three critical things:
- It replaces minerals
- It prevents more mineral loss
- It curbs acid-causing bacteria
Remember that too much fluoride can stain teeth. At Michelsen Dental in Orange CA, we can advise you on the proper amount. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.
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