Prevention of Dental Disease

What's going on in the mouth?

What's going on in the mouth?

What's going on in the mouth?

You probably know that a dental cavity is a hole in a tooth. But did you know that a cavity is the result of the tooth decay process that happens over time? Did you know that you can interrupt and even reverse this process to avoid a cavity?

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different types live on our teeth, gums, tongue and other places in our mouths. Some bacteria are helpful. But some can be harmful such as those that play a role in the tooth decay process.  Tooth decay is the result of an infection with certain types of bacteria that use sugars in food to make acids. Over time, these acids can make a cavity in the tooth.

Throughout the day, a tug of war takes place inside our mouths

On one team are dental plaque—a sticky, colorless film of bacteria—plus foods and drinks that contain sugar or starch (such as milk, bread, cookies, candy, soda, juice, and many others). Whenever we eat or drink something that contains sugar or starch, the bacteria use them to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth's hard outer surface, or enamel.

On the other team are the minerals in our saliva (such as calcium and phosphate) plus fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources. This team helps enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost during an "acid attack."

Our teeth go through this natural process of losing minerals and regaining minerals all day long.​