Tooth decay is a serious problem that often goes unnoticed. It affects up to 90% of the population. Many people are not aware of the warning signs or adverse consequences that tooth decay can bring. You can help protect yourself and your family from the dangers of tooth decay by practicing proper oral care, routinely visiting the dentist, educating yourself to know the warning signs, and preventing bacterial growth in the mouth.
How does a cavity form?
A cavity is formed when plaque builds up and hardens on the surface of the tooth. This plaque is home to large amounts of bacteria, which gradually break down the enamel on our teeth. Enamel is important because it protects our teeth from acids and bacteria. If this plaque is not removed, the bacteria can eat through all of the enamel and eventually gnaw away at the innermost layers of our teeth. This can eventually lead to complete loss of teeth.
What causes cavities?
So you’ve got your first cavitiy. What was it caused by? Cavities are caused by a wide variety of factors. Some of these factors include:
- Lack of proper oral hygiene
- Diet/Lifestyle choices- Smoking, alcohol use, frequent consumption of acidic or sugary foods and drinks
- Lack of access proper to dental care
- Old age
- Eating Disorders
- Dry Mouth
Dangers of cavities
Most of us have had a cavity in our lifetime. But what are the dangers of leaving these cavities untreated? Unfortunately, untreated cavities can have insidious effects. Some of these include:
- Extreme tooth pain
- Possible tooth loss
- Tooth abscess- which can lead to life-threatening infections
- Chewing problems- which can lead to excessive weight loss or gain and even malnutrition
How Do I Know If I Have a Cavity?
There are many warning signs your body will produce to signal that you have a cavity. It is important to always listen to your body and pay attention to any pain or abnormalities. Some of these indicators include:
- Tooth pain
- Increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Dark stains on the teeth
- Holes in your teeth
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
The good news is that most people can easily avoid cavities if they implement a simple dental hygiene routine into their everyday lives. With proper oral care and routine dental visits, cavities can be a thing of the past.
- Healthy Food Choices- Eating a diverse diet can help to naturally clean teeth and remove plaque from a tooth’s surface. Try eating crunchy vegetables, calcium-rich foods (such as cheese and yogurt), and vitamin-rich meats like fish.
- Floss, Floss, Floss– Flossing removes plaque and food between the teeth and below the gumline. Make sure to floss regularly to prevent build-up. Most people brush their teeth before flossing, but it is actually recommended to floss first and then brush away any dislodged material.
- & Brush, Brush, Brush- Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day for at least two minutes. You should use deliberate brushing techniques to get the best results.
- Dental Cleanings – Dental Cleanings are arguably the most important tool in your dental hygiene toolbox. During a dental cleaning, dentists will scrape your teeth and remove any plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing leaves behind. They can also check your teeth for any signs of tooth decay and remedy any dental problems. It is important to have a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year to keep your teeth healthy and happy.
Dental sealants are another great option to add additional protection to your teeth’s enamel. Sealants are invisible coatings your dentist applies to individual teeth that shield against harmful bacteria and acid. They are long-lasting, durable, and invisible. When combined with regular brushing and flossing, sealants are an incredibly effective way to prevent tooth decay..
Take control of your oral health
Ultimately, you can avoid dangerous cavities if you are willing to incorporate a few key steps into your routine. Making sure to eat a balanced and nutritious diet, proper brushing and flossing, and routine dentist visits are easy ways to protect your teeth from the dangers of tooth decay.
Are you ready to schedule that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off? Schedule an appointment at Greenspoint Dental in Houston, Texas today! Our team of compassionate dental professionals is here to help you achieve the healthy smile you deserve!