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What You Need to Know about Tooth Decay

What You Need to Know about Tooth Decay

The guaranteed way to practice good oral hygiene is by regularly brushing and flossing, combined with bi-annual visits to the dentist for a professional exam and cleaning. The goal is to prevent tooth decay, which can lead to further complications if it is not treated properly. While everyone probably realizes that tooth decay should be avoided, many people are unaware of the process that actually leads to tooth decay.

Our mouth is actually full of naturally-occurring bacteria. When these bacteria come into contact with food that we eat, they chemically break the food down. The end product is a gooey white substance referred to as plaque. If plaque is allowed to stay on the enamel of the tooth, it takes on an acidic effect, which then strips our enamel of its natural minerals. Plaque that has accumulated on your teeth over time is called tartar. While plaque can be removed and controlled through proper brushing and flossing, tartar requires the intervention of a dental professional. If enough of the minerals are stripped away, the result is tooth decay. One of the reasons it is important to use fluoride toothpaste when you brush your teeth is because it helps to fortify these minerals and makes them more resistant to the effects of plaque.

If tooth decay is left to corrupt the tooth and enters into the gum, then a root canal may be necessary. During a root canal procedure, the pulp of the tooth is removed in order to save the tooth from an infection. If your tooth decay has gotten to a point that you think you may need a root canal treatment, contact our endodontist in Los Angeles to set up an appointment.

 

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