Most people suffer from a cavity at some point in their lives, and in order to truly find out the proper ways to prevent it, it’s important to get well-acquainted with the issue first.
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What Is a Dental Cavity?
A dental cavity, or a tooth decay, is a hole in a tooth that is caused by bacteria. Oral bacteria can produce acids that attack the enamel of your teeth. If the acids are not removed, they can eventually break down the enamel and cause a cavity.
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What Are the Symptoms of a Dental Cavity?
In its early stages, a cavity may not cause any symptoms. However, as it progresses, you may notice the following:
- Tooth pain
- A dull ache in your tooth
- Sensitivity certain foods and drinks
- Dark spots on your tooth
- A hole in your tooth
What Are the Causes of Dental Cavities?
The leading cause of dental cavities is the bacteria in your mouth which produces acids that attack the enamel of your teeth. These acids are excreted when you eat foods that contain sugar or starch, and the more often you eat these foods, the more likely you are to develop cavities.
That being said, other factors can increase your risk of developing cavities, and those include:
- Not brushing your teeth regularly
Brushing your teeth helps to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth.
- Not flossing regularly
Flossing helps to remove plaque and food residue from between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Having dry mouth
A dry mouth can make it difficult to keep your teeth clean, increasing your risk of developing cavities.
- Certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can increase your risk of developing cavities.
- Certain medications
Some medications, such as steroids, may increase your risk of developing cavities.
How Can I Prevent Dental Cavities?
There are multiple prevent dental cavities, including:
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth once a day using a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long. Wrap it around each tooth and gently move it up and down between your teeth.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can help to prevent cavities.
- Eat a healthy diet. Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Water helps to wash away food particles and plaque from your teeth.
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride rinse; it helps to strengthen your teeth and make them more resistant to cavities.
- Quit smoking, as it can damage your teeth and make them more susceptible to cavities.
What Is the Treatment for a Dental Cavity?
The treatment for a dental cavity depends on the size and severity of the cavity. In some cases, the cavity can be filled with a material, such as an amalgam or composite resin. In more severe cases, the tooth may need to be crowned or root canaled.
After getting your filling, there are a number of practices that you should implement and maintain to keep your teeth healthy and intact and to prevent the cavity from coming back; these practices include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Flossing your teeth once a day.
- Seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
- Using a fluoride rinse.
Overall, taking care of your general health and keeping an eye on your diet and oral hygiene behaviors will surely help you maintain healthy, clean pearly whites.