Although we’re told to brush our teeth for two minutes, two times a day, we don’t usually get an in-depth explanation of the entire tooth decay process. However, understanding it just might make you recommit to brushing your teeth for the full two minutes every morning and night!
Why Decay Occurs
Our skin doesn’t decay like teeth do — why is that? Well, while our skin can heal itself, our teeth have a much harder time. “Cells are what start the healing process in our bodies, and as tooth enamel consists of 90% minerals, there aren’t many proteins and cells there,” says Janne Reseland, a professor of biomaterials at the University of Oslo (UiO).
At the base of the roots of our teeth are cells that can provide a certain amount of repair but not up in the crowns. This leaves a huge section of a tooth’s surface area that’s highly sensitive to what we eat, drink, and even breathe, hosting hundreds of bacteria at a time. Some are good bacteria — but not all. Over time, certain bacteria will use sugars in food to create acid, which leads to a cavity in your tooth.
How to Prevent Decay
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most important things you can do to fight decay. Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent the progression of tooth decay, or even reverse it early on. That’s because fluoride prevents mineral loss in tooth enamel and replaces lost minerals. It also reduces the ability of bacteria to create acid.
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Article by Charles Jackson, President of AFEUSA