Time… we all want it to go slower, unless we have an upcoming event that we cannot wait to participate in. This week for many it is Thursday, in other words Thanksgiving! A time for family, food and fun. A time of a larger than normal meal, warmly decorated homes and people dressed up a little bit fancier. Time… time is a funny thing. We only have so much. We want more, we want less. We don’t really know what we want. In the dental field time is very important. It has been said that is takes less than 24 hours for bacteria to cause decay in a tooth. Here is a little more information about tooth decay, and how it starts.
Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria, called plaque. Within this film, there are thousands of different types of bacteria. Of all these many different types of bacteria, only one causes tooth decay. That bacterium is called Strep Mutans. It is impossible to rid oneself of all these germs, and it would be unfavorable to do so. You see, all the other bacteria in your mouth are constantly fighting a war, preventing the Step Mutans from taking over.
After eating a meal, there are small crumbs of food in our mouths, just like those that you may see on your kitchen table. The Strep Mutans bacteria eat these crumbs and produce harmful acid. This acid can attack tooth enamel for as long as 20 minutes or more. Repeated acid attacks cause the enamel of the teeth to break down, resulting in tooth decay.
If left untreated, the decay will continue to progress through the tooth structure until it reaches the pulp. The pulp chamber houses the nerve and blood supply for the tooth. When decay reaches the pulp, an abscess ensues which is associated with tremendous pain. Once the decay is in the chamber, the only choice of treatments are Root Canal Therapy or Extraction of the tooth.
Prevention is the best method for avoiding decay. Good home care is important and can help also but having a professional hygiene appointment is the only way to really get those pearly whites…well…pearly! Here at the office of Dr. Openshaw our caring hygienist, Mary strives to provide a comfortable environment for you. Our goal is for you to have the healthiest mouth you can have. Call us to schedule your preventative appointment today! 209-524-4763. or CLICK HERE to book your appointment now online!