There are four typical sites for tooth decay. These spots are difficult to clean, so bacteria can usually gain a foothold, unless our patients are particularly diligent with their oral hygiene. Without regular cleaning and dental check-ups, these sites often suffer pits, fissures and lesions in the enamel and dentin that result in dental caries, more commonly called cavities.
The first of these sites are the natural grooves of the grinding surface of the teeth. Food is easily caught in these formations in the enamel. With particularly deep fissures or pits, decay is almost inevitable. Dental sealants or pre-emptive treatment with composite fillings are methods for preventing serious destruction of the enamel by opportunistic bacteria.
Another common location for caries is between the teeth. Flossing is the primary way to remove food particles and bacterial biofilm from these tight gaps. Some patients also report good success by cleaning these areas with interdental brushes, small brushes that fit between the teeth. Crowded teeth are especially susceptible to tooth decay since it can be difficult to fit either floss or brushes between them. This problem is best resolved by orthodontics.
The gum line is a third location where caries are often found. Developing caries in this zone is extremely hazardous to dental health, since it is more likely that the disease will progress into the root. While it’s important to brush this area regularly, use caution to not brush too aggressively, or you may damage the very gum line you’re trying to protect. Bleeding gums are a sign of serious problems and should be brought to the Sacramento Dentistry Group for examination.
Gaps between fillings and your tooth are the final “trouble spot” for caries. Unfortunately, this is an area where most people assume they are immune from decay, since they have already been treated once before. The point must be made that there is no place in the mouth safe from tooth decay. Replacing amalgam fillings with composite materials wherever possible lessens the likelihood of this type of dental caries, since composites are much more form-fitting as a dental restoration.
We encourage our patients to make daily use of fluoride toothpastes in the battle against caries. Fluoride encourages remineralization of damaged enamel and dentin. Taking this step, along with others that can be discussed in our Sacramento offices, goes a long way towards keeping your teeth healthy and whole.