Next week millions of people will be celebrating the holidays, meeting with friends and family. They will also be enjoying a number of sugary foods and candy. While the occasional piece of pie or a candy cane is fine, too much sugar can actually endanger your smile. How do you avoid tooth decay during the holidays? First, you need to know how cavities form.
Cavities form when harmful bacteria reaches the layers of dentin underneath the tooth enamel. This can happen when the outer enamel becomes weakened, often as a result of injury or poor oral hygiene. In addition, eating foods and drinks high in sugar and other starches can promote plaque buildup, which also impacts the strength of your tooth enamel. Understanding the cause of decay can help you make better choices and hopefully avoid the onset of cavities.
In addition to cavities, the holidays can also pose a danger to your gums as well. Plaque buildup occurs as bacteria break down sugar and other food particles left on or between your teeth. The resulting buildup can actually irritate the gums, leading to inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Unless addressed quickly, gingivitis can potentially progress into gum disease, leading to uncomfortable symptoms and increasing the risk of adult tooth loss.
How do you know if you should see the dentist? The warning signs of a cavity often include tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, as well as a persistent toothache. If you notice discomfort that doesn’t subside after 48 hours, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. We can determine if you need treatment and discuss fillings and other options for restoring the health of your smile.
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