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Posted on: September 14, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone
It’s sometimes tempting to skip your brushing and flossing routine when it’s late at night, and you’re exhausted, or you’re out of time in the morning. However, of all the tasks you could skimp on or skip, your oral hygiene regimen shouldn’t even be on the list. Many serious diseases such as dementia, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even premature death have been linked to poor oral hygiene. It only takes one or two times of skipping your brushing and flossing regimen for decay to start, and before you know it, you can have a cavity or the beginning of gum disease. When you understand how cavities and decay start, it’s easier to prevent them, so continue reading to learn more about this topic.
You have both harmful and beneficial bacteria in your mouth. When you eat, the good bacteria combine with the food and break it down so that it can be digested. This also forms acids that can combine with the harmful bacteria to erode your tooth enamel unless they’re removed through brushing and flossing. When a hole appears in your tooth, the acids and harmful bacteria have completely eroded your tooth enamel in that area, and you now have a cavity.
If you notice the hole and immediately go to your dentist, they can remove the decayed part and place a filling. Several types of fillings are available depending on the size and location of your tooth, but your dentist will recommend the best filling for your needs. A filling can usually be placed in one office visit.
If, however, you don’t promptly attend to your cavity, it can enlarge, and you may need a dental crown, also called a cap. Large fillings have a high failure rate, so your dentist may prefer a cap. They’ll remove the decayed area and then cover the entire exposed area of the tooth with a custom-made cap that will look, feel, and function like your natural tooth. This procedure usually requires two office visits.
If you’re past the stage of a dental crown, you may need a root canal, which will usually take two or three office visits. For a root canal, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth, including the pulp, the nerve, and the root. The area is disinfected, rinsed, and then the root is sealed. The canal is then filled with gutta-percha, and the cap is permanently affixed. The preferable method for this procedure is good oral hygiene that keeps cavities from forming, so you don’t need this painful and invasive procedure. Don’t neglect a root canal if you need one because it can have serious ramifications.
What Are the Best Tactics for Preventing Cavities?
Avoidance is the absolute best method for preventing cavities, but sometimes you may get one despite your efforts. The American Dental Association recommends specific procedures for avoiding cavities, and they’re similar to the following:
- Regular brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice daily, especially before you go to bed. Floss whenever you brush, and be sure to use an ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss after each meal or snack. If that’s not feasible, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water.
- Use mouthwash daily: Using an ADA-approved mouthwash twice each day can also reduce the appearance of cavities because it removes any residual bacteria.
- Get regular dental checkups: An essential element of your good oral hygiene regimen is regular dental checkups. Semiannual is best, but if that’s not possible, then have an annual checkup. Your dentist can provide you with tips for better dental health, and they may also spot minor issues before they escalate into major problems.
- Use topical dental treatments: Your dentist can apply a topical sealant to the fronts and backs of your teeth, and it will also cover any nooks or crevices you may have. This ensures that food particles and acids don’t get lodged in those tiny spaces and start to decay. With good dental hygiene, a topical sealant can last for a decade, so it’s money well spent.
- Eat healthy, tooth-friendly foods: The same foods that keep your body healthy can also keep your mouth healthy, such as cheese which supplies calcium to your teeth. Fresh fruits and vegetables clean your teeth and provide antioxidant protection to your teeth and body. Unsweetened tea and coffee, and sugar-free gum help maintain the moisture level in your mouth while they rinse bacteria and acids from your mouth.
- Drink tap water: Most bottled water brands that people now drink almost exclusively lack the minerals that your teeth need. To compensate for this, drink a glass of tap water each day. Most municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, so by drinking some tap water daily, you can remineralize your teeth.
- Get advice from your dentist: Your dentist has spent years or decades training and learning about the teeth, gums, and mouth, so ask them for input on your oral hygiene regimen. They’re the best source for information on healthy teeth and gums.
Cavities and gum disease aren’t inevitable aspects of life. By practicing good oral hygiene habits that include regular dental visits, you can keep your mouth healthy while you improve your physical health as well.
Are There Efficient Treatments for Cavities?
The best treatment for a cavity is to avoid one. However, if you have a cavity, get it treated without delay so that it doesn’t worsen. The following are the three most common treatments for cavities:
- Filling: If you have a small cavity, your dentist can remove the decayed part and place a filling. The type of filling will depend on the location of the tooth, but your dentist will recommend the best option for you.
- Crown: If your cavity has enlarged, you may need a crown, also called a dental cap. Since large fillings have a high failure rate, dentists often prefer to use a cap in lieu of a large filling. If so, your dentist will remove the decayed area and then cover the entire exposed surface of the tooth with a customized cap that will look, feel, and function the same as a natural tooth.
- Root Canal: If your cavity has reached the root of your tooth, you may need a root canal. For this procedure, your dentist will remove the decayed area, including the pulp, the nerve, and the root, and then disinfect the area.
New techniques are frequently introduced due to innovations in the field of dentistry. Ask your dentist about them and if any are appropriate for you. However, the best defense against cavities is still avoidance, so be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen that includes regular dental visits. With proper care and maintenance, your teeth can last throughout your lifetime, and you’ll never need to have a mouth full of artificial teeth.