What is tooth decay?
Tooth enamel is hard yet porous. Plaque on the surface of you teeth can produce acids that seep into the pores (rods) of the enamel and break down its internal structure. This process, called demineralization, can create a weak spot on the surface of the tooth that may become a cavity if left untreated.
- Decay often begins on the biting surfaces, between the teeth, on exposed roots, and around existing fillings.
- Untreated, decay spreads into the tooth and can destroy the tooth structure.
- Decay enters and infects the pulp.
The role of fluoride
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and by speeding up the remineralization process. The new enamel crystals that form are harder, larger, and more resistant to acid.
Treating and preventing tooth decay
Common sources of fluoride are fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and mouth rinse. Inform your dentist if your drinking water is not fluoridated. He or she may recommend that you use a high-concentration fluoride gel, mouth rinse, drops or tablets.
To help strengthen weak spots and exposed roots, and prevent early stages of tooth decay, brush regularly with a fluoridated toothpaste like Crest Cavity Protection. In one study, patients using Crest Cavity Protection developed 41% fewer cavities than patients using a toothpaste without fluoride.
Daily brushing with Crest Cavity Protection, as well as regular flossing and professional cleanings, will help prevent cavities and preserve your oral health.