Saying that you have good oral hygiene habits doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to a dentist. Make sure that your “good” oral hygiene routine also meets your dentist’s standards.
It’s not uncommon for a patient to be shocked when their dentist tells them they have a cavity. It’s frustrating because not only do they rarely get cavities, but they brush and floss regularly. So how is it possible to get a cavity when you have good oral hygiene habits?
If you find yourself in this situation, we understand how frustrated you feel. At The Dental Anesthesia Center, we value our patient relationships, making it our priority to deliver the gentle dental care that you deserve from sedation dentists in St. Louis.
What is Good Oral Hygiene?
Saying that you have good oral hygiene habits don’t necessarily mean the same thing to a dentist. You may brush your teeth twice a day and assume that is good oral health. While brushing your teeth is obviously necessary, there is definitely more to it.
Good oral hygiene includes these five essential habits:
- Brush teeth at least twice a day
- Floss at least once a day
- Avoid sugary drinks and snacks
- Drink plenty of water with meals
- Get dental checkups twice a year
In addition to the basics, there are several other things you should do or avoid to prevent cavities. For instance, how regularly do you go to the dentist for checkups and teeth cleanings? Less than once or twice a year? How about your drinking habits? Some eating and drinking habits can have an immediate effect on our teeth. Do you sip on soda all day long at work? If so, bacteria is growing and causing damage; therefore, brushing twice a day is likely not enough.
How Do Cavities Form?
Our teeth are made up of minerals. When we eat or drink sugary or starchy foods, bacteria in the plaque on our teeth begin producing acid. This acid eats away at the enamel. When the pH in our mouths becomes more acidic, our teeth start losing the natural minerals on our teeth.
When these acids erode the enamel, a cavity, or hole, begins to form. Tooth decay can affect all layers of a tooth. It can take years for a cavity to develop in the solid outer layer of the enamel. However, a cavity forms more quickly as the middle and innermost layers of tooth decay. It can eventually erode to the root, which can cause severe pain and sensitivity.
How to Prevent Cavities
We’re glad you brush your teeth twice a day – that’s a good habit. However, if you’re lacking in some of these other areas, you may be told you have a cavity at your next dental visit. Make sure that your “good” oral hygiene routine also meets your dentist’s standards. Regular brushing, especially after meals, and flossing once a day, are the best combination. Further, avoid sugary and starchy foods that linger on your teeth and cause bacteria to multiply. Finally, get to the dentist at least twice a year for a routine checkup and cleaning.
If you continue to have issues with your teeth, you might have an underlying condition that needs to be identified and addressed. Be sure to discuss this with your dentist at your next visit!
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