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It can be a problem for children, teenagers and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on the teeth. When foods containing sugars are eaten or drunk, plaque bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The great adhesion of the plate keeps these acids in contact with the teeth and, over time, the enamel can decompose. That's when tooth decay forms.


Caries is more common in children, but the changes that occur with aging make it a problem for adults as well. The recession of the gums of the teeth, together with an increase in the incidence of gum disease, can expose the root of the tooth to the plaque. The roots of the teeth are covered by cement, a softer fabric than enamel. They are vulnerable to decay and more sensitive to contact and heat and cold. It is common for people over 50 to have tooth decay.


Caries around the edges, or a margin, of fillings are also common among older adults. Since many older adults did not enjoy the benefits of fluoride and preventive dental care today when they grew up, they often have some dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings can weaken and tend to fracture and seep around the edges. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny cracks and increases the presence of acids that cause decay.


You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:



Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste.



Clean between teeth daily with dental floss or an interdental cleaner.



Make nutritious and balanced meals and limit meals between meals.



Consult with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens the teeth, and about the use of dental sealants (a protective plastic coating) applied to the bite surfaces of the posterior teeth (where decay often begins) to protect them of caries.

Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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