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Posted on: September 14, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone
Cutting corners or compromising on your oral hygiene is never a good idea, no matter how tired or how rushed you are. You have both beneficial and harmful bacteria in your mouth, and the harmful ones can damage your teeth and gums in very little time, so don’t give them a chance to start. Poor oral health has been linked to diseases such as diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular problems, and even premature death, so make sure you are diligent in maintaining a regimen of good oral hygiene. Understanding how to prevent cavities will help you in your fight against cavities, so read on to learn more.
When you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth combine with the food to prepare it for digestion, and acids are formed. When not removed through brushing and flossing, the acids begin to attack your tooth enamel and start the decay process. If you notice a small hole in your tooth, then you probably have a cavity. Make a dental appointment without delay so that the hole doesn’t enlarge. Your dentist can fill a small cavity in one dental appointment if the cavity is treated promptly.
If you delay or don’t notice the hole, then your small cavity will continue to enlarge, and you may need a dental crown. Further delay can result in the need for a root canal, which is a painful and expensive procedure. It requires removing the tooth root, nerves, and pulp, installing a dental crown, and several office visits.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
The best way to avoid developing cavities or tooth decay is dedication to a routine of good oral hygiene that includes regular dental checkups. Although you may not immediately lose your teeth by skipping a brushing and flossing session occasionally, it sets the stage for decay to start. You may notice the results of a bad routine before long. Be dedicated to your oral hygiene regimen, no matter how tired or rushed you are. The American Dental Association has published guidelines for good oral health, and they’re similar to the following:
- Regular brushing: Brush and floss at least twice daily, preferably in the morning before you eat or drink anything, and in the evening just before bedtime. Don’t eat or drink anything but plain water after brushing and flossing in the evening, and use an ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. The ADA recommends that you also brush and floss after each meal or snack, but if that’s not possible, then rinse thoroughly with plain water.
- Use mouthwash daily: Use an ADA-approved mouthwash at least once daily, and the ADA recommends that you use it twice daily.
- Get regular dental checkups: An integral component of your oral hygiene regimen should be regular dental checkups. Semiannual checkups are best, but annual checkups should be the minimum. Your dentist can recommend additional actions to improve your oral hygiene, and they may be able to spot minor issues that you missed.
- Use topical dental treatments: Your dentist can apply a topical dental treatment to the fronts and backs of your teeth, and it will also reach crevices that your toothbrush might miss. Since topical treatments can last for years, they’re well worth the investment in your dental health.
- Eat healthy, tooth-friendly foods: Foods that are healthy for your body are also healthy for your teeth, such as dairy, which can supply calcium to your teeth, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables help clean your teeth, and they supply antioxidants to your body. Sugar-free gum and unsweetened tea and coffee can keep your mouth moist and flush bacteria from it.
- Drink tap water: Most people drink bottled water exclusively, but most brands don’t have the minerals your body needs. Drinking some tap water each day can help remineralize your teeth, especially since most areas now fluoridate their water supply.
- Get advice from your dentist: Your dentist has years or decades of experience and knowledge that you can tap, so ask them about tips for improving your oral hygiene routine.
Don’t risk losing your teeth or developing gum disease due to poor oral hygiene and the onset of cavities. Take a few minutes daily to care for your teeth.
What Ways Will My Dentist Treat My Cavities?
If you develop a cavity, seek dental treatment promptly so that your small cavity doesn’t escalate into a root canal. If you need cavity treatment, however, the following are the most common treatments:
- Filling: If you have a small cavity, your dentist can typically remove the decay and place a filling in one office visit. A variety of fillings are available depending on the location of the tooth, but your dentist will recommend the best filling for your needs.
- Crown: If your small cavity has escalated and you now have a large cavity, your dentist may opt for a dental crown, also called a cap. Larger fillings have a higher failure rate, so removing the decayed area and placing a customized dental cap is often the alternative. Your cap will look, function, and feel like your natural tooth, and the procedure typically requires two office visits.
- Root Canal: If your tooth cavity has reached the root, then you’ll need a root canal. For this procedure, your dentist will remove the decayed area, including the root, nerve, and pulp. The area will be cleaned and disinfected, the root will be sealed, and the canal will be filled with gutta-percha. Then, a custom-made crown will be permanently cemented into place. This typically takes two or three office visits.
If you have a cavity, attend to it promptly, so that you can avoid more invasive and expensive procedures.
Advances in the field of dentistry are continually yielding new procedures and techniques, so ask your dentist if there are any that can benefit you. The importance of good oral hygiene, both to your teeth and to your body, can’t be overstated. By exercising good oral hygiene throughout your life, you can maintain your natural teeth and never need expensive and uncomfortable artificial teeth.