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Posted on: November 24, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice For Everyone
You always hear that you have to brush your teeth twice a day to prevent cavities, but do you know why? Cavities occur from a buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is that slimy, fuzzy substance that we all get on our teeth after eating or drinking. There are different types of bacteria in plaque that take sugars and carbs and turn them into acids. It is these acids that create holes in the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, which goes to show how destructive plaque can be.
If you don’t get treatment, the decay can reach the dentin, the middle layer of the tooth. If this happens, you’ll likely feel sensitivity to hot and cold. Eventually, the tooth decay can reach the pulp, causing infections and intense pain. If this happens, you will need a root canal to preserve the tooth.
You can prevent cavities from forming by:
- Brushing your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes. This is extremely important for removing plaque. Use a soft toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. This way, you know the products meet the strict ADA standards for effectiveness and safety. You will also want to buy a new toothbrush every three or four months. Brushes fray and won’t clean as well if you don’t replace them regularly.
- Floss daily. Toothbrushes can’t reach between teeth, so you need to clean between your teeth at least once a day. Surprisingly, a very high percentage of people do not floss daily. They say it’s time consuming or takes too much effort. If this sounds like you, but you want to avoid cavities between your teeth, ask your dentist about alternatives to traditional floss.
- Schedule a dental checkup every six months. Cavity treatment is always easier and less expensive if your dentist can catch the cavity when it is still small. If you are prone to cavities, your dentist can also suggest treatments to lower your risk.
- Ask about a fluoride treatment. If you are at a high risk of developing cavities, a professional fluoride treatment can be helpful. It’s a natural preventative measure that is cost effective.
- Avoid sweets. Foods and beverages with a lot of sugars and carbohydrates stick to your teeth and feed the bacteria that produce the acid that causes tooth decay. If you want sweets, and they are hard to avoid, don’t eat candies or sip on sugary soft drinks all day. It’s better to have them at meals, when your saliva can help wash the sugar away and you can brush afterward.
- Drink fluoridated water. If your tap water is fluoridated, drink it often. The fluoride will help prevent tooth decay. According to the CDC, it can reduce cavities by 25 percent. The majority of bottled water containing fluoride does not have optimal amounts.
Your cavity treatment will depend on the extent of the day. If your dentist can catch a cavity during a routine exam, before you notice any symptoms, you’ll probably only need the least invasive treatment.
Dental Fillings – When you have a cavity, your dentist can usually use a filling to restore the tooth. He or she will have to drill out the decay before placing a filling. Since your dentist can numb the area first, this will not hurt. Filing material can consist of metal or a composite resin that is tooth colored and does not stand out as much as a metal filling.
Crowns – Crowns restore teeth with large fillings where there isn’t enough structure left for the tooth to function normally. Dental crowns cap teeth, covering all sides of the tooth. Most crowns are custom made from porcelain-over-metal or porcelain, so they look like the surrounding teeth. People will not know you have a crown. You can get crowns made from other materials as well, including gold.
Root Canal Treatment – A root canal treatment becomes necessary when decay reaches the pulp of the tooth. This can be very painful. The pulp is the innermost layer of a tooth containing the nerves, tissues and blood vessels. Dentists remove the pulp and then clean out the cavity left to remove all traces of infection. Once the tooth is ready, a filling material is placed in the space and a crown replaces the tooth’s strength and functionality. With regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene, the restored tooth can last for decades.
The Future of Fillings
We’ve come a long way since the advent of dentistry. With new advancements in technology, we still have a long way to go to fixing many dental issues. Since cavities are such a common problem among the population, a lot of interesting solutions to cavities are currently in development. For instance, scientists are looking at ways to naturally regenerate teeth using stem cells. The stem cells regrow tooth tissue. While the results are promising, dental fillings and other cavity treatments are currently the only way to restore teeth.
There is another type of filling that dentists are interested in using that would spread fluoride to the teeth close to the cavity to prevent any decay from affecting the teeth nearby. This would be great for individuals that are especially prone to getting cavities.
Not all the advancements have to do with fixing the problem, some look to solve the problem before it even starts. There is a new fluorescent light tool on the market that helps dentists detect areas of concern before the decay can do severe damage. However, this tool is really only helpful if you visit the dentist regularly! So, be sure to ask you dentist about any new technologies when you next visit for your cleaning.
The dentists in New Lenox have many ways to help patients who are prone to cavities avoid them. Some individuals have thin enamel due to genetics or a dry mouth because of taking certain medications. Most adults have at least one cavity in their mouth and a smaller percentage have one that hasn’t been treated. It’s never too late to prevent further cavities, and fix the ones you already have. An affordable dentist in New Lenox can help you get started today.