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Preventing Tooth Decay in Great Neck, New York

The symptoms associated with tooth decay and cavities can vary significantly. This depends mainly on the location and amount of decay. Patients may not even feel any symptoms when a cavity begins to form. However, as decay increases, a patient may present numerous symptoms, including toothache, tooth sensitivity, pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet, visible holes in the teeth, and staining on the tooth’s surface.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

TAlthough a process that takes place over time, tooth decay often results in the development of cavities. And the root cause of tooth decay is often dental plaque, a transparent, sticky film that coats a patient’s teeth. Dental plaque results from inadequate cleaning of the teeth following the consumption of sugars and starches. When not correctly removed from the teeth, sugar and starches can provoke the rapid accumulation of bacteria that later forms plaque. This plaque then remains on the teeth and can harden under or above the gum line, turning into tartar. And tartar can make plaque incredibly challenging to remove, serving as a protective barrier for bacteria.

TWhen the acids in plaque remove minerals from a tooth’s outer enamel, tiny holes can form. This is the first stage of cavity development. Bacteria and acid can reach the dentin once areas of enamel are entirely worn away. Softer and less resistant to acid, dentin contains minuscule tubes that serve to communicate directly with a tooth’s nerves. Thus tooth sensitivity often results at this stage. Bacteria and acid may then power through to the pulp -- the innermost tooth material that contains its nerves and blood vessels. As a result, the pulp can become irritated or swollen, pressing the nerve and causing pain and discomfort that can expand to the bone’s root.

Can I Avoid Cavities and Tooth Decay?

  • Antibacterial treatments - Some patients might be particularly at risk for tooth decay. In such cases, your dentist is likely to recommend unique antibacterial treatments and mouth rinses to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Avoiding continual sipping and snacking - Your mouth bacteria generates acids capable of destroying tooth enamel each time you consume foods or beverages other than water. Thus, sipping and snacking throughout the day open up your teeth to recurring assault.
  • Brushing with fluoride toothpaste after eating or drinking - All patients are advised to brush their teeth a minimum of two times daily, preferably following each meal and with fluoride toothpaste. And Patients can use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between their teeth.

Dental sealants - “A sealant is a protective plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of back teeth. It seals off grooves and crannies that tend to collect food, protecting tooth enamel from plaque and acid.” Sealants are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all school-age children. Although sealants must be frequently checked, they can last for multiple years.

  • Eating tooth-healthy foods - When consuming foods that can get stuck in the pits and grooves of your teeth, you should brush your teeth soon after or avoid these foods altogether. Alternatively, foods like vegetables and fresh fruits can boost saliva flow. And sugar-free gum, tea, and unsweetened coffee can help to wash away food particles.
  • Regular dental cleanings and oral exams - Getting regular professional dental cleanings and oral exams can help prevent problems or catch them before becoming more substantial. Work with your dentist to create a schedule that’s best suited to you.

How Dr. Julie Liberman DDS Can Help


Dr. Julie Liberman DDS of Great Neck Dental Care NY is happy to provide regular professional teeth cleanings, oral exams, and fillings to patients in the Great Neck area, spanning New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Douglaston, Jericho, Roslyn, etc. Contact us today to book your appointment and learn more about how you can prevent and address tooth decay and cavities!

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Merrick, NY