St. Paul Dentist Discusses Reasons for Dental Decay

Written by Drs. Mark and Rachel Malterud on Jan 31, 2012

The ultimate goal of any dental professional is to prevent dental decay and cavities. Teeth that are healthy and natural are stable, aesthetically pleasing, and vital to a patient’s overall dental health. The St. Paul Dentist strives to keep natural teeth healthy and cavity free to reduce the likelihood of our patients requiring future major cosmetic or structural dental treatment.

In general our patients are committed to maintaining good oral health; brushing and flossing twice a day are vital for protecting a healthy smile. Lately though, our practice is treating an increasing numbers of new patients who avoid treatment by a dental professional. They are counting on a daily routine of good oral hygiene to prevent dental decay, but these patients are risking their dental health.

Preventative home-care maintenance like brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash will help to remove some plaque from dental enamel. Throughout the day eating and drinking will cause plaque to form on the surface and between teeth. Plaque, a sticky combination of bacteria and sugars, is harmful because of its acidity, which can eat away at dental enamel and threaten the health of your tooth. Obviously, brushing and flossing are important since they remove the daily build-up of plaque.

Unfortunately, at-home oral hygiene alone will not prevent dental disease. The most conscientious at-home hygiene cannot remove every trace of plaque buildup. Left on dental enamel, plaque will harden into tartar (also or “calculus”). The tartar calcifies on the teeth, providing a perfect environment for enamel-eroding bacteria and sugars. This tartar buildup can only be removed by a dental professional through dental scaling. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a routine of semi-annual (twice a year) professional dental cleanings to help keep a cavity-free smile.

A great deal of emphasis is put on the importance of a thorough oral hygiene routine by the dental health community, and with good reason. But it is equally important to follow a schedule of regular professional scaling and polishing treatments. Collaborating with a dentist to establish a balance of at-home and professional care is the easiest way to accomplish your dental health goals. The St. Paul Dentists will be happy to answer any questions and provide guidance, so don’t hesitate to contact our office at (651) 925-2644 any time.