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Frequently Asked

What Causes Tooth Loss?

The most common causes of tooth loss are dental caries, also known as tooth decay, and periodontal disease, which affects the gums and bone structure that supports the teeth. Dental caries is the major cause of tooth loss in children, and periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults; however, it too can afflict youngsters.

What Causes Periodontal Diseases?

Plaque, a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria use carbohydrates sugars and starch esto produce an acid that attacks the enamel covering the teeth. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel can be broken down and a cavity begins. Continued acid attacks eventually dissolve the enamel and penetrate the softer, inner layer of the tooth, where decay can spread rapidly throughout the tooths structure. Acid attacks begin immediately after every meal or snack and last about 20 to 30 minutes.

Can Periodontal Diseases Be Prevented?

Teeth can be protected from acid attacks by removing plaque, reducing the number of times and the amount of sugar and starches eaten, using fluorides, having plastic sealants applied to teeth, and by regular professional cleaning of teeth by a dental hygienist.

How Does Plaque Attack the Gums?

Plaque can also produce harmful byproducts that irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal diseases. If plaque isnt removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. If plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it can irritate the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque build up can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.

How Do You Stop Plaque Attacks?

Two key factors in preventing dental caries are fluoride and dental sealants. Fluoride compounds are found naturally in soil, water, and in many foods. Plaque attacks cant be stopped, but you can help to prevent plaque build-up by following a good oral care program of brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular visits to your oral health care professional.

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http://www.cda.org/page/patient_education_tools

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