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Posted on: September 15, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice
Most people have at least one cavity in their mouth. In fact, nine out of every 10 Americans over age 20 have at least one cavity. Some people feel that once they are adults, they don’t have to worry about cavities anymore. This isn’t true. While children and teens are more likely to get cavities, adults get them too.
As a child, you probably heard you have to brush your teeth and stop eating so much candy, but what really causes cavities? Every time you eat or drink something besides plain water, a sticky film. called plaque, forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink anything with sugar, the bacteria in the plaque turn it into an acid that erodes tooth enamel. Unchecked, the decay can spread to the middle layer of the tooth, the dentin. When this happens, you will feel pain when you consume hot or cold foods or drinks or when you bite down. If you still ignore the cavity, If the decay reaches the pulp, the inner part of a tooth, the pain will become extreme.
What Can I Do to Help Prevent Cavities?
You can do a great deal to reduce your risk of developing cavities, including:
1. Brush Every Morning and Evening
Brushing in the morning for at least two minutes removes plaque and bacteria that accumulate each night and cause morning breath. Always use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle toothbrush. When you brush in the evening, just spit out the toothpaste, but don’t rinse your mouth with water. This allows the fluoride in the toothpaste to stay on your teeth.
2. Floss Daily
Adults who have cavities usually get them between their teeth. Flossing daily removes the plaque between teeth, yet, as adults, many of us don’t floss. U.S.News reports 30 percent of us never floss. If you find using string floss takes too long, or it’s too difficult, ask your dentist about easier, faster alternatives.
3. See a Dentist Every Six Months
Regular exams can detect cavities when they are small and do not cause you any pain. Small cavities are easier and less expensive to treat. If you only see a dentist when you’re experiencing pain, you’ll need a larger filling, and possibly a crown, to restore the tooth. Plus, you can get a professional cleaning to remove any built up plaque that can cause cavities.
4. Ask About Sealants
Dental sealants are not just for children; they are also for cavity prone adults. Sealants are thin coatings applied to the tops of molars, which are uneven and provide many places for plaque to hide, no matter how well you brush. The sealant literally forms a physical barrier, making the top of molars smooth and easy to keep clan. Dental sealants can last for up to 10 years.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet
Drinking water benefits your teeth as well as your overall health. If you drink your municipal water that contains fluoride, you get the benefit of extra fluoride when you wash away food particles in your mouth. While some bottled water contains fluoride, it rarely contains as much as tap water. Black tea, without sugar, is also good to drink as compounds in the tea can inhibit bacteria growth.
Eat crunchy foods, like apples, celery and raw carrots. These make your saliva flow, which washes away bits if food on your teeth. They also naturally clean your teeth.
Smart snacking will help keep cavities at bay. Almonds and hard cheese have calcium, which is good for your teeth. These make better snacks than sugar laden sweets, chips and soft drinks with sugar.
6. Drink Tap Water or Ask About Flouride Treatments
Did you know that most tap water includes fluoride? Fluoride is strengthening for your teeth and can help to prevent cavities. If you son’t think your water contains fluoride, ask your dentist for a fluoride treatment.
7. Suggest Dental Sealants
Sealants are used to protect the grooves of your teeth. As your teeth have many pits and cracks that can make it easy for decay to create cavities, it’s best to protect them. Dental sealants are common and can help you prevent cavities for many years.
A cavity won’t go away on its own. Fortunately, your dentist has virtually painless solutions to treat cavities of all sizes.
When you need a filling, your dentist will remove the decay from inside the hole and then fill it. Most filling material is white composite resin or amalgam (metal). Your dentist will suggest an appropriate material to restore your tooth based on the location and severity of the cavity.
If you have tooth decay that reaches the pulp, the innermost tooth layer where the nerves are, your dentist will have to remove the pulp. The procedure does not hurt and it will stop the intense pain. Your dentist will then fill the area and cover the tooth with a crown to restore its function and strength.
If you have a very large cavity, or had a root canal, your dentist will have to put a crown over the tooth. When you lose too much tooth structure, the tooth is subject to cracking and breaking without the strength a crown offers. Crowns are usually porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal, although other materials, like gold, are available.
Researchers at the University of Washington are working on a way to reverse early stage cavities by rebuilding tooth enamel. They are creating a product people can use at home as a simple cavity prevention measure. For right now, good at-home oral hygiene and regular dental exams, along with limiting sugar, are the best defense against cavities.
Despite such innovative dental care techniques, the best way to avoid the problems caused by tooth decay is to always practice good cavity prevention. The importance of brushing twice a day, every day, and flossing at least once a day can’t be overstated. Proper dental care, along with regular visits to an affordable dentist in Fort Lauderdale, is the first line of defense in preventing tooth decay. In addition, eating tooth-healthy foods and avoiding excessive amounts of cavity-causing sweets and carbs will go a long way toward cavity prevention.