How to Protect Teeth from Cavities
What Are Cavities?
They are holes that form on teeth due to incurred damage. These holes form as a result of decay, a process of gradual destruction of tooth structure. Initially, a cavity damages the enamel, the outermost layer of a tooth. However, if the infection goes without treatment, it can damage the inner layers, including the dentin, pulp cavity, and tooth roots.
What Causes Oral Cavities?
Various factors can contribute to dental cavities. Usually, the decay process begins when you have plaque buildup in your mouth. It results from neglecting oral hygiene for long. The food residues mix with saliva and bacteria in your mouth to release acids that erode the enamel. When the enamel starts eroding, it weakens, making it prone to cavities and other oral infections. Some of the factors that increase your risk of dental cavities are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Gum disease
- High consumption of sugary foods and drinks
Can Cavities Be Reversed?
Technically, when a dental cavity has already formed on your tooth, it cannot be reversed. However, various treatment protocols can slow down or stop the decay process. It only applies if you visit your dentist early before the cavities begin forming on your teeth.
How to Know A Cavity is Developing on Your Tooth
Tooth decay is a process that can sneak up on you if you are not keen to monitor your oral health. However, the process is usually slow and happens over a prolonged period. Some of the signs of dental decay are:
- Dark or brownish spots and streaks on your teeth – particularly in the fissures of the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars
- Heightened tooth sensitivity
- Sharp or dull pain when you chew food
- A visible hole on your tooth
Treatment Options Available for Dental Cavities
The dentist in Phoenix near you may recommend various solutions for treating your cavity, including the following:
- Dental fillings – are the most common solutions for cavities. A filling material fills and seals the hole in your tooth, replacing the damaged portion of the enamel.
- Fluoride treatment – entails enriching teeth with fluoride, a natural mineral that builds strong teeth and heightens their resistance to bacteria that cause tooth decay. This treatment is effective as a preventive measure before a cavity starts forming on your tooth. When done early, fluoride treatment can reverse the decay process, preventing dental carries.
- Dental sealants – are also preventive dental care measures to protect your teeth from cavities. If you think you may be at risk of developing cavities, visit your dentist in Phoenix for dental sealants. They protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, barring them from the acids that erode enamels.
- Root canal therapy – is an endodontic procedure that treats the insides of a damaged tooth to remove infected tissues and save the tooth. Root canal therapy targets the inner layer called the pulp cavity, which houses nerve endings and blood vessels.
- Tooth extraction – although dentists take time before recommending tooth extractions, they are still part of the treatment approaches for a dental cavity. Extracting a decayed tooth only applies when the damage is too severe that very little of the structure is intact.
Can You Prevent Cavities?
Even though oral cavities are common, it does not mean you must get them. Some people have avoided dental decay by undertaking preventive oral care measures to protect their teeth. Some tips for preventing dental cavities are:
- Keep a clean mouth – you must floss your teeth once daily and brush them at least twice. Ensure you use the right products to keep your mouth clean. Besides, the right technique to brush your teeth is crucial to remove food residues all over your mouth. Therefore, brush your teeth at least two minutes before rinsing with a fluoride-containing mouthwash.
- Routine dental cleanings – are incredible for boosting your oral hygiene. Besides, professional cleanings target plaque and food debris from the hard-to-reach parts of your mouth.
- Watch what you eat – consuming many starchy and sugary foods heightens your risk of dental cavities. The stakes are higher if you do not brush your teeth after meals. For snacks, opt for fruits and raw vegetables over candy, pretzels, and chips.
- Drink your water – water helps neutralize the acidity in the mouth that erodes the enamel. If you keep sipping water throughout the day, you heighten resistance to bacteria that cause dental cavities.