Tuesday, October 09, 2018

What Causes Cavities And How To Prevent Them

Cavities can be a real pain in the teeth. They’re a common health problem worldwide, people of any age can get them, they’re difficult to completely avoid, and some people have teeth that are just prone to getting them, now matter how much sugar they avoid. But what exactly causes cavities, and can anything be done to prevent them?

Cavities are small holes in the teeth that form where there are weakened areas in the hard surfaces of the teeth. This tooth decay and damage can happen for several reasons.These include improper or insufficient cleaning routines, sugary drinks and snacks, bacteria in the mouth, and poor-quality tooth enamel. Cavities that are left alone continue to enlarge and deepen and the decay will reach into the deeper layers of the gumline and nerves. Infection and tooth loss are entirely possible.

Avoid sugar and starches

Sugar and starches cause plaque to form, and plaque that sticks around can harden into tartar, which creates a protective shield for bacteria. Acids in plaque dissolve minerals in the hard enamel layer and holes form. The bacteria and acid continuethrough and eat into the layer of dentin, which connects to the nerves of the teeth. Tooth pain could be an indicator that a cavity is present. Further damage occurs when the bacteria moves through to the pulp, where nerves and blood vessels reside. This is when more serious pain and toothaches start.

Your local professionals like Hawthorne Village Dental Care should be visited regularly to find and care for cavities. Affected teeth can be cleaned and fillings put in to stop the growth of the cavity and prevent a new one from forming at that site. Your dentist and dental hygienist can help with tips for preventing cavities. This includes proper brushing and flossing, plus professional cleaning and rinses, regularly.

Increased risk factors for cavities include eating food that sticks to the teeth like
  • candy
  • desserts
  • ice cream
  • honey
  • soda
  • chips
  • and crackers
Plus sipping on sugary drinks sees a constant stream of sugar washing over your pearly whites. It’s important to brush and floss regularly to remove the starch, sugar, and debris that form plaque, and to get rid of the plaque already there. Teeth that are hard to reach at the back get cavities most often. If you’re not getting enough fluoride from your toothpaste, from your city’s drinking water, or through treatments at the dentist, this can also lead to decay.

Heartburn, Heartbreak

Acid from heartburn can affect tooth enamel. Having a dry mouth can lead to more damage because saliva, and components within it, can’t clear debris and plaque away. Old fillings and damage caused by teeth grinding can also create spaces for bacteria to grow.

Other ways besides brushing and flossing that can help with prevention is visiting the dentist regularly; rinsing your mouth with mouthwash that contains fluoride; dental sealants that can be professionally applied to the chewing surface of teeth; drinking from the public water supply and not bottled water; avoiding snacking on sugars and starches and to brush teeth after consuming these foods; antibacterial treatments; and chewing on prescription gum.

Ask your dentist about these options and which they recommend for your personal situation.  

This is a guest blog entry.

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