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Lighthouse Dental Care
88 Ryders Lane, Stratford, CT 06614

The Science Behind Tooth Decay

Bacteria in our bodies can either be harmless or harmful. Although they are very tiny, they can have big effects on our health. For instance, about 300 different kinds of bacteria can live in our mouths, and some of these bacteria cause problems like tooth decay, or cavities.

How Tooth Decay Happens

Bacteria are living things like human beings are, and they eat, grow, reproduce, and move around, just like we do. They also make waste products when they eat. Tooth decay is caused by the waste that bacteria make when they feed on the sugars in the foods and drinks we put into our mouths. The waste product they make is a biofilm called dental plaque. Plaque is sticky and can help bacteria stick around in your mouth longer. If they’re in there long enough, they’ll start to make acids that can wear down your teeth, causing cavities.

The bacteria in your mouth that are near your gums can also make toxins that get into your gums, causing something called gingivitis, or a sickness of the gums. If gingivitis isn’t taken car of, it can lead to periodontitis, which is a worse type of mouth sickness that can eat away at the bone and tissue in your mouth.

Getting Rid of Plaque

To get rid of plaque and harmful bacteria, it’s important to brush your teeth and clean between them. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a brush that has soft bristles to help get rid of plaque on the surfaces of your teeth. You should also floss your teeth whenever you brush so you can make sure that the spaces in between your teeth are clean.

After brushing and flossing, using a mouth rinse can help make your mouth even cleaner. Using an antimicrobial mouth rinses kills bacteria that make plaque and can cause gingivitis. Mouth rinses that contain fluoride can also help to make your teeth stronger and less likely to decay.

Preventing Oral Diseases

One of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to do to the dentists regularly. The dentist will clean your teeth using special tools to get them extra-clean and remove any stains. They’ll also look at your mouth, checking for signs of tooth decay or gum infections. They might take X-rays that let them see inside your teeth, helping them to spot cavities while they’re still very tiny. Then, they can fill the cavities to keep them from getting worse. A dentist can also apply a special fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth.

Another important thing you can do to keep your teeth and mouth healthy is to avoid sugary foods, which bad bacteria love. Sugary foods include obvious things like candy and soda, but they can also include starchy things like potato chips, cereal, and crackers. Try not too eat too much of these things, and if you do, brush your teeth afterward to give the bad bacteria less to feed on.

And of course, the most important thing you can do to protect your teeth is to brush them at least twice a day, in the morning and before you go to bed. Brush for at least two minutes each time, and don’t forget to floss!

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Office Hours

  • Monday 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday 7:00 AM – 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Select Saturdays* 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM


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Office Hours

  • Monday
    8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday
    7:00 AM – 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday
    7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday
    8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday
    7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Select Saturdays
    8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

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New patients are welcome! To request an appointment use our online form or call:

(203) 742-1027

Our Location

Lighthouse Dental Care

88 Ryders Lane, Stratford, CT 06614

(203) 742-1027