Rotten teeth affect millions of men, women and children the world over. People become susceptible to the factors causing rotting teeth virtually the moment that their first baby teeth appear. And while the primary cause of rotting teeth is as complex as it is pervasive, one thing is clear: left untreated, a rotting tooth is destined to become a dead tooth.
Rotten teeth are the result of the demineralization of tooth enamel by the acid-producing bacteria that normally grow the human mouth. The erosive power of this chemical process is why cavities and rotting teeth appear discolored and translucent. In so-called “best-case” scenarios, the acid responsible for rotting teeth will create a small dental cavity. In worst-case scenarios, the acid will eat through the enamel and dentin into the pulp of the tooth producing first a toothache and then a dead tooth.
The Sugar Connection
Research shows the consumption of sugar and starchy foods creates the perfect environment for the growth of the acid-producing bacteria responsible for rotting teeth. This partially explains the alarming number of children who experience decayed or rotten teeth. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 6 out of 10 children in the U.S. will have a least one cavity filled by age 5. Studies link this alarming statistic to three things: 1) the omnipresence of sugary snacks; 2) giving little ones pacifying bottles of juice, milk, or formula to drink during the day or overnight; and 3) inconsistent oral hygiene.
Preventing rotten teeth takes a little common sense and a lot of dedication. The key to avoiding rotting teeth is reducing the amount of cavity-causing bacteria and dental plaque in your mouth. This requires a real commitment to good oral hygiene, including
- Brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day
- Using tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride
- Flossing daily
- Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash
- Cutting back on starchy and sugary foods
- Increasing saliva flow by chewing xylitol gum
- Regular dental cleanings by a dentist DDS, DMD or dental hygienist
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