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Having good oral hygiene can help you prevent tooth decay and especially cavities. Adhering to a comprehensive oral hygiene regimen is the initial step to great oral wellbeing.

In this article, Dr. Oh and Dr. Ash Estafan will help you learn the important tips to help keep away from having tooth decay and cavities. And to keep your mouth healthy throughout your life, learn what causes a tooth cavity, what a cavity is and the impact of a single cavity on your overall health and your long-term oral health.


Poor Oral Hygiene:  Not brushing your teeth regularly allows plaque to build up and attack the tooth enamel.

Plaque Formation:  Plaque is caused when bacteria, acid, food particles, and saliva all combine in your mouth. This plaque adheres to your teeth and builds up over time. The acid in plaque attacks the enamel of your tooth and eventually can cause holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities.

Dry Mouth:  Saliva helps wash plaque from the teeth. If you have a dry mouth with very little saliva, plaque may build up more quickly.

Eating and Drinking:  This is where it all begins. Since we all have to eat and drink to live, there’s no way to avoid this, but it does play a significant role in the formation of cavities. When you eat or drink, carbohydrates remain on your teeth until you brush. Even after brushing, you may not be able to remove all food particles or carbohydrates from your teeth. Foods that tend to cling to your teeth can increase your risk for a tooth cavity. Be sure to brush your teeth regularly, especially after drinking milk or soda, or after eating dried fruit, dry cereal, hard candy, caramel, taffy, raisins, sugary cereals, cookies and breath mints.

Bacteria and Acid:  While most people don’t like to think about it, bacteria naturally live in your mouth. When these bacteria digest the carbohydrates that linger on your teeth and in your mouth, acid forms.

Medical Problems:  can contribute to a tooth cavity by causing acid from your stomach to flow back into your mouth. Similarly, bulimia increases the risk of a tooth cavity when the teeth are exposed to stomach acid during frequent vomiting. In addition, some types of cancer treatment that expose the head and neck to radiation can promote a tooth cavity by changing the makeup of the saliva to promote increased bacterial growth.


Each tooth is covered by a hard mineral substance called enamel. The enamel helps to protect your teeth, but because it’s a mineral, it can break down when it makes contact with the acids in your mouth. This is one of many reasons why drinking water is really good for the health of your mouth. It washes over your teeth and gums along with your saliva, helping to combat the acid and buildup of bacteria.

Sugars and starches are the main enemies here because bacteria thrive on them. Once enough bacteria builds up, it’s going to form into plaque and then tartar, two or more enemies of your enamel. If you fail to take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing and drinking plenty of water, then the tartar and plaque will eventually eat away at the enamel, forming tiny holes that compromise the hard surface. This is what’s known as tooth decay. If enough acid builds up over time, these tiny holes get a little larger until they eventually become cavities.


While it’s true sugar and candies do cause tooth decay, it’s not nearly as much as bread, chips, and crackers. Candies like chocolate are very water soluble. They don’t stay on the teeth or in the mouth for a very long. Dried grains like bread and crackers on the other hand plaster themselves to teeth and don’t get dislodged from the teeth for around 30 minutes. In that time and for an additional 30 minutes the mouth is very acidic and the bacteria that cause decay are eating away at your teeth.

So remember to limit the time it takes to eat a carbohydrate snack, rinse with water or chew sugarless gum and don’t brush directly after a meal. Brush for a full 2 minutes and you should only be flossing the teeth you want to keep.

Importance of Proper Dental Home Care Routine

Dentists can only do so much to improve your oral health. It is imperative that you floss and brush your teeth on a daily basis. If possible, brush and floss after every meal. At a bare minimum, you should floss before sleeping and brush in the morning as well as the evening. If you fail to abide by a routine oral health care routine, plaque and tartar will accumulate quite rapidly.

In fact, it takes surprisingly little time for this harmful gunk to build up and cause damage to your teeth. If plaque is not removed with brushing, flossing, and treatment at the dentist’s office, it will harden along the teeth, irritate gum tissue, lead to gum disease and other problems. Gum disease has been linked to poor heart health, an increased chance of stroke, pregnancy problems, and diabetes.

Keep those Dental Appointments

Dentists advise a thorough cleaning and examination of the teeth, gums, and tongue at least once every six months. Though some patients visit the dentist once per year, spreading out visits beyond 6-month intervals is risky.

It is important to understand the causes of tooth decay so you can learn the proper way to care for your teeth and care for your health. To learn more about your dental care plans, visit Madison Avenue Dentists, PC or book an appointment with Dr. Stella Oh or Dr. Ash Estafan.

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