Have you ever wondered what causes cavities? Many of us know cavities are caused by tooth decay, but what causes tooth decay? There are hundreds of different bacteria in our mouth, some good and others, not so much. It’s the harmful bacteria that contribute to tooth decay, as well as other dental issues like gum disease and persistent bad breath. Certain harmful microbes consume the sugars and starches in your food, converting them into acids that wear down your teeth’s defenses. The more frequently your teeth come in contact with these acids, and the longer the acids are allowed to remain on your teeth, the greater chance you’ll develop infectious tooth decay. As dedicated and caring dentists, Drs. Wager and Evans encourage you to attend routine checkups and cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and prevent tooth cavities from forming. Continue reading “Keep Tooth Decay at Bay”
Tooth enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up teeth. Enamel is the hard outer surface that protects the underlying layers. It is also the hardest and most mineralized substance in your body.
Ninety-six percent of tooth enamel is composed of minerals, while the remaining percentage consists of water and organic material. The main mineral in enamel is hydroxylapatite which is also known as crystalline calcium phosphate.
The main role of tooth enamel is to protect the soft layer of dentin. Enamel also serves as a hard surface for chewing, grinding, and crushing food.
Enamel is semi-translucent and porous. Eating dark foods and drinking dark beverages, such as red wines, coffee, or soda, can cause the enamel to discolor and stain. Smoking, age, and certain medications also cause tooth stains. A beautiful smile is a white smile, so if your teeth are stained, consider professional, safe teeth whitening prescribed by Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans.
Even though enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it is susceptible to damage. The food you eat contains sugars and starches, and when these components mix with saliva, they form acid. The acid extracts minerals from tooth enamel, weakening it. Then bacteria invade and cause decay, or cavities. Acidic foods, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages, also erode tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel doesn’t remain soft forever. Saliva will remineralize and re-harden the enamel within 30 minutes to an hour after you stop eating and drinking. Continue reading “Getting To Know Your Tooth Enamel”