Dental Health: The War on Cavities

Richard Herman, DDS, GHVFHC Chief of Dental Services

Did you know that every day there is a war going on inside your mouth? The war between plaque and saliva is a constant one.

When you ingest food, the bacteria in plaque breaks down your meal into sugars and, as a result, acid is produced. The acid begins to damage teeth by dissolving the enamel through a process called demineralization. However, your saliva contains minerals, such as phosphate and calcium that help to re-mineralize the enamel and ultimately protect your teeth. Fluoride in toothpaste and water, along with frequent brushing and flossing, also helps in this process.

When the presence of plaque and saliva becomes unbalanced, acid is able to break through the enamel and damage the tooth. This process enables bacteria to enter the tooth, which eventually creates a cavity. The severity of the cavity depends on how soon it is treated professionally by your dentist.

Your dentist has one more strategy, called dental sealants, that protects your teeth from cavities. A sealant is a thin coating that is painted onto the surfaces of molars. Sealant prevents food, bacteria, and plaque from settling into the crevices where a toothbrush is not able to reach, which prevents cavities from forming. Children between the ages of 6 to 12 years of age should have their molars sealed.

More information about cavities and how they can be repaired will be coming up shortly on the Provider’s Pulse.

The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center offers dental services at The Kaplan Family Pavilion (147 Lake Street, Newburgh, NY) and at 100 Broadway, Newburgh, NY. 

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  • Providers involved include:

    Monica Francis, PA

    Avi Silber, MD, FAAP
    Tracy Lucas, FNP
    Adeola Ayodeji, MD, FAAP

    Chanchal Singh, MD
    Sneha Shrivastava, MD
    Penelope Guccione, FNP

    Julie A. O’Connor, CM, LM, MS
    Marian Seliquini, CM, LM, MS

    Koreen E. Thomas, FNP
    Andrea Giovinazzo, FNP-C

    Kate Michalak L.Ac., RPAC

    Alban Burke, DDS

    Neha Dada, O.D.

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