What is the Big Deal About Cavities?

Many of us do not understand the seriousness of cavities and do not take care of our teeth the way we should. Tooth decay (cavities) can occur when we eat the wrong foods, and fail to take good care of our teeth the way we should if we expect to have good dental health. Our oral hygiene, the foods we eat, and whether or not we have fluoride in our water can all have an effect on our susceptibility to cavities.

Children generally are more prone to cavities but adults can also get cavities on the chewing surfaces or in-between teeth. Root cavities are those cavities that we get as we age and our gums recede, leaving behind tooth root, which exposes them, to decay easily. Adults can also get something called, Recurrent decay”, which is when decay forms around existing fillings or crowns that were placed because of cavities.

Adults that have dry mouth are especially prone to cavities because they lack saliva, a substance that is important in preventing cavities. There are many reasons why adults get dry mouth including salivary gland malfunction, medications, chemotherapy or radiation treatment and stress or nerves.

If left untreated a cavity can be very serious and can even destroy your tooth by killing the delicate nerves at the center of the tooth. Cavities can lead to abscess, which can lead to tooth loss.

Cavities can be detected by dental examination or by X-ray. It is important to keep the regular dental appointment that most of us have scheduled for every six months.

You can prevent cavities from forming by improving your daily dental care plan. Your dental plan should include brushing twice daily to remove plaque from in-between teeth and from below the gum line. Floss once a day. Keep your regular dental checkup and cleaning examinations when they are scheduled (usually every 6 months).

These exams are preventative care and can detect problems early when treatment is most effective. Eat a well-balanced diet, limit sweets and starchy foods, and use dental products that contain fluoride. If your water is not fluoridated or you drink bottled water your dentist may prescribe daily fluoride supplements.

Tooth decay is the erosion of tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the protective coating of the tooth. Bacteria that are normally present in our mouth can grow and cause plaque to cover our teeth. Plaque contributes to infection and tooth decay.

When the cavities are first starting there are usually no symptoms in fact sometimes we don’t even know cavities are there at first. Sometimes cavities can even hide from dentists. Dentists have to use an X-ray to find hidden cavities. Cavities that have been there for a while or those that have caused damage can cause discomfort that will prompt you to go to the dentist.

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